Airbus Defence and Space

The Airbus Zephyr HAPS

Longest and highest flight ever

Since 2008, the Airbus Group has been working on High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS). Running exclusively on solar power and flying above both the weather and conventional air traffic, these systems fill a capability gap between satellites and UAVs.

They are ideally suited for what we call “local persistence”. This means that HAPS have the ability to stay focused on a specific area of interest (which can be hundreds of miles wide) while providing it with satellite-like communications and Earth observation services over long periods of time without interruption.

Recognising the excellent fit with Airbus’ existing portfolio of space-based, airborne and terrestrial systems and services, we have created a “Nursery” project in which an integrated team of space and aviation experts has “incubated” a HAPS business addressing all of its technical, commercial and regulatory aspects.

This “incubator” builds on the assets and resources of the “Zephyr” programme that was initiated in the UK. The Airbus Zephyr holds several world records, including the longest flight duration without refuelling (14 days, i.e. 10 times longer than any other aircraft in the world) and the highest altitude (70,740 ft.). In total, the Airbus Zephyr system has already clocked up over 850 hours of flight time at high altitude.

About Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs some 40,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €14 billion per year.


Alain Dupiech
Tel.: +33 7 86 29 54 71
UAS Media Relations

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