HAPSMobile, a subsidiary of SoftBank and minority-owned by AeroVironment, has announced the fourth successful test flight of its Sunglider solar-powered high-altitude platform system.
The flight took place on July 23, 2020 (PT) at Spaceport America (SpA) in New Mexico. With all basic aircraft tests for the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) now complete, HAPSMobile will proceed with preparations for stratospheric test flights.
In this test flight, Sunglider, the newly renamed UAS designed for stratospheric telecommunications platforms, reached altitudes higher than those of previous flights and maintained high altitudes for a long duration.
Sunglider also successfully passed all test points, including flight speed changes, steep turns, automated flight control in the event of interrupted communications with the Ground Control System, and in-flight balance control.
In addition to the Hawaiian island of Lanai, HAPSMobile built a new test site at SpA as part of its mid- to long-term business plan. Since SpA offers flexibility in coordinating test flight schedules, there will be opportunities to conduct test flights with greater frequency and more freedom to conduct various types of tests. HAPSMobile also plans to conduct stratospheric test flights at SpA.
“We’re extremely pleased that we successfully completed all basic tests. The test flight validates the research results we have steadily accumulated, and the graceful flight at our new facility in Spaceport America has given us great confidence,” said Junichi Miyakawa, representative director and CTO of SoftBank, and also president & CEO of HAPSMobile.
“Based on our experience and learnings from these basic tests, I feel there are even greater possibilities for the HAPS business. We’ll continue to work toward our ultimate goal of bridging the world’s digital divide and revolutionizing mobile connectivity by leveraging the HAPS platform.”