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Kistler supplies Airbus’s Zephyr with measurement technology for ground and flight testing

04 January 2022

For a revolutionary aerospace development project at Airbus, Kistler supplies two high-precision accelerometers, which deliver key data for aerial vehicle design. The very small and lightweight sensors – one of them capable of operating under stratospheric pressure and temperature conditions – pave the way for further enhancement of the Zephyr platform.

High-altitude platform stations (HAPSs) are a missing link in a global infrastructure that is meant to provide advanced connectivity and observation capabilities everywhere on Earth. Unlike traditional aircraft and common unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), HAPSs are designed to operate in the stratosphere for months at a time. One of the most advanced HAPSs in the world is the Airbus Zephyr – named after an ancient Greek god of wind. It holds the world record for the longest stratospheric flight: 25 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes.

With its two core functions, Earth observation and connectivity, Zephyr – whose production facilities are located in Farnborough, UK, where it was originally invented – has what it takes to revolutionise global markets and communication. 3.8bn people are still unconnected from the internet, with many remote areas having insufficient infrastructure and power stability. One day, Zephyr will offer them direct-to-device, low-latency connectivity that is reliable and seamless.

Regarding Earth observation, Zephyr offers a complementary solution between the aircraft, UAS and satellite, as it is able to deliver high-resolution, near real-time imagery and video services, 24/7 surveillance, and has the flexibility of being able to be re-tasked. But which technologies play a part here to make all this possible?

Read the full article in DPA's January issue

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