Airbus Defence and Space

First flight of Airbus Defence and Space’s Zephyr solar HAPS

Solar powered High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite successful test flight

Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed the first flight of its long endurance Zephyr solar powered High
Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) since it acquired the assets of the Zephyr programme in March 
2013 from QinetiQ in the UK.

The flight of the Zephyr took place at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, USA, in August 2013. 
Airbus Defence and Space’s HAPS programme has been running in conjunction with its AIRBUS Group partners, Cassidian and 
Innovation Works, for several years.

The solar powered Zephyr holds the world record for flight endurance, having flown for more than 
two weeks at altitudes in excess of 70,000 feet. This latest flight was to demonstrate a number 
of improvements in the design and operation of the vehicle, to enable future long-endurance 
operational trials.

“We are delighted that we have shown not only that the Airbus Defence and Space Zephyr is the most advanced 
High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite in the world but also that Airbus Defence and Space and the UK Ministry of Defence 
were able to put together this programme to demonstrate persistent Intelligence, Surveillance & 
Reconnaissance (ISR) capability and to complete a full flight with the support of the US Department 
of Defense within only four months,” said Jens Federhen, Airbus Defence and Space’s HAPS programme manager.
He added: “Airbus Defence and Space is now set to develop a High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite offering that will provide 
a valuable augmentation to its existing space based services for communications and remote 

Space surveillance (SSA)