Navy asks Near Space Systems to design a stratospheric airship as an alternative to satellite-based surveillance and communications
LAKEHURST, N.J., 27 May 2010. Aerostat designers at Near Space Systems Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colo., are defining requirements for a lighter-than-air stratospheric airship and sensor and communications payloads to provide continuous communications and sensing capabilities as an alternative to orbiting satellites under terms of a $2 million U.S. Navy contract awarded this week.
LAKEHURST, N.J., 27 May 2010.Aerostat designers at Near Space Systems Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colo., are defining requirements for a lighter-than-air stratospheric airship and sensor and communications payloads to provide continuous military communications and persistent surveillance sensing capabilities as an alternative to orbiting satellites under terms of a $2 million U.S. Navy contract awarded this week.
Officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst in Lakehurst, N.J., awarded Near Space Systems a one-year contract for the Alternative Energy, Self-Propelled, Fully-Maneuverable, Hybrid, Lighter-Than-Air (LTA), Stratospheric Airship program.
Near Space Systems experts will design and build a subscale lower and upper stages of a stratospheric airship able to perform persistent surveillance and communications missions from high altitudes similar to how orbiting satellites perform these tasks from space -- only less expensively and quicker to develop -- for military contingency operations outside the United States.
Navy officials want this kind of a high-altitude, long-endurance airship for real-time communications relays independent of the cost, schedule, and risks of satellite-based communications.
Navy experts will write engineering requirements for Near Space Systems to define what the stratospheric airship needs in terms of systems, structures, avionics, command and control, launch and recovery, performance and environmental expectations, and safety considerations to be a complete and operational aerial system.
Near Space Systems is developing the Star Tower, Star Light, and Star Shadow family of lighter-than-air (LTA) platforms that carry aloft wide-area communications, broadband, and sensing devices for military and commercial applications in network connectivity and surveillance less expensively than space-based systems.