Press releases

Hispasat and Thales Alenia Space team up on stratospheric balloon demonstration for 4G/5G telecom applications

Press releases

Hispasat and Thales Alenia Space team up on stratospheric balloon demonstration for 4G/5G telecom applications

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    • Both companies will carry out tests to connect directly the payload embarked in the balloon with a smartphone in the ground.
    • Zero 2 Infinity will provide the balloon in this demonstration, while Thales Alenia Space is developing the future full - scale stratospheric airship.

    Cannes, September 11, 2018 – Hispasat, the Spanish satellite communications operator, and Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33 %), announced today that they are jointly preparing a stratospheric balloon demonstration for 4G/5G telecom applications. Scheduled for October 2018 in southern Spain, the demonstration will test 4G/5G applications by allowing direct communications between smartphones and a High-Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) – a stratospheric balloon in this case.

    To match the early interest of Hispasat for the innovative market of HAPS, Thales Alenia Space, serving as prime contractor for this demonstration and offering its payload expertise of 4G/5G telecommunication missions, is teaming up with Spanish company Zero 2 Infinity, S.L., which will provide the stratospheric balloon, while Thales Alenia Space is developing the future full-scale stratospheric airship, Stratobus.

    “Reflecting our ongoing policy of developing innovative solutions to address our customers' needs, we are continuing to study the vast possibilities offered by stratospheric platforms as a complement to geostationary satellites,” said Hispasat CEO Carlos Espinos. “Stratospheric solutions offer greater operational flexibility and agility, enabling us to immediately meet communications and connectivity needs with an infrastructure that provides a huge broadband with a minimum delay, while avoiding all technical and economical limitations derived from a rocket launch. Moreover, this solution entails a smaller environmental footprint than satellites, which is an additional advantage. We take a keen interest in the solution offered by Thales Alenia Space, and it’s ideas like this that keep us at the forefront of space. We are delighted to collaborate with our long-standing partner on such a promising project.”

    Jean Loic Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space, added: “Thales Alenia Space is taking an incremental approach to this program with Hispasat. We are proud to have earned Hispasat’s trust in our dedicated HAPS solution, namely Stratobus™ – a stratospheric airship that combines the best of drones and satellites to provide a low-cost system that offers autonomous operation and permanent regional coverage, while offering an excellent fit with satellite systems. StratobusTM is designed for a wide range of civil or military applications, including telecommunications, navigation and surveillance. Its position in the stratosphere at an attitude of 20 kilometers is optimal for 4G and 5G telecommunications, with signals sent directly to the end-user’s smartphone in just milliseconds.”

    Artistic view: ©Thales Alenia Space/Briot

    About HISPASAT
    HISPASAT is comprised of companies that have a presence in Spain as well as in Latin America, where its Brazilian affiliate HISPAMAR is based. HISPASAT is a world leader in the distribution and broadcasting of Spanish and Portuguese audiovisual content, and its satellite fleet is used by important direct-to-home television (DTH) and high-definition television (HDTV) digital platforms. HISPASAT also provides satellite broadband and connectivity services which include Internet access, mobility and the extension of mobile networks, in addition to other added value solutions to governments, corporations and telecommunication operators in America, Europe and North Africa. HISPASAT is one of the world's largest companies in its sector in terms of revenue, and the main communications bridge between Europe and the Americas.

    Hispasat - Press contact:
    Víctor Inchausti
    Tel. +34 91 710 25 40 /

    About Thales Alenia Space
    Combining 40 years of experience and a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, Thales Alenia Space architects design and deliver high technology solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments, institutions and companies rely on Thales Alenia Space to design, operate and deliver satellite-based systems that help them position and connect anyone or anything, everywhere, help observe our planet, help optimize the use of our planet's – and our solar system’s – resources. Thales Alenia Space believes in space as humankind’s new horizon, which will enable to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of about 2.6 billion euros in 2017 and has 7,980 employees in nine countries.

    Thales Alenia Space – Press Contacts:
    Sandrine Bielecki
    Phone: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94

    Chrystelle Dugimont
    Phone: +33 (0)4 92 92 74 06
    Tel: +39 06 41512685