The European Space Agency acknowledges the immense potential of aerial & stratospheric platforms as a complementary sources of Earth observation data or telecommunication services. ESA’s support to the development of such platforms (including ORCA), and associated miniaturisation of sensor and communication technologies, is illustrated by the efforts made in organising the workshop HAPS4ESA, on the 9th and 10th of October 2017. Here, the industry came together to present the absolute state-of-the-art in HAPS platform & payload technologies, including Airbus with their Zephyr solar aircraft, and Thales Alenia Space’s Stratobus airship.
SkyfloX was similarly invited to present the ORCA concept: the missing layer between satellites (400KM height), HAPS (20KM height), and RPAS (<300M height). ORCA combines the best of these worlds, due to its immense coverage potential combined with high spatial resolution from 10KM height, at ultra low cost due to the innovative & sustainable approach of re-using commercial airliners as platforms.