22.03.2014 11:06

Stratobus: not drone, yet not a satellite

The project involves the development of autonomous aircraft, which is at an altitude of about 20 kilometers, will be able to perform various tasks and functions of communications surveillance.

French company Thales Alenia Space has introduced StratoBus project to establish a system of automatic air stations multipurpose use.

StratoBus Artist’s impression (here and below the image of the project participants).

StratoBus – a cross between a huge UAV and satellites in a stationary position. As planned by the designers, the device will outwardly resemble a blimp. He can independently rise to a predetermined height and keep it there the desired position using the two self-regulating electric motors.


It is assumed that StratoBus be able to perform a variety of tasks. For example, it will help in monitoring the state borders, water pool, etc. On board unit can be installed telecommunications equipment to improve the quality of mobile communication or improve the accuracy of navigation in populated areas.

Dimensions StratoBus can reach 70-100 m long and 20-30 m in diameter. As the skin is suggested to apply durable material for carbon fiber, UV resistant. Payload mass will reach 200 kg.

Exploit “airships” proposed at a height of about 20 km – on the lines of planes and other air transport. LA will get a highly efficient system of electricity generation with solar panels and adaptable ultra fuel cells for energy storage.

StratoBus can seamlessly perform the mission duration of one year and the term of the lives of those “airship” will be five years.

It is assumed that the first prototypes StratoBus appear at the end of the decade.