AirStrato was a stratospheric flying robot designed to have a flight ceiling of 60,000 ft (18,000 m) using solar cells and batteries. It had almost a day of endurance and the capability to be controlled via satellite or GSM communication over the Internet from any part of the world. The generous payload space and weight made it suitable for a wide range of applications. The high flight ceiling and great autonomy allowed the operator to perform flights in near space conditions for long durations.
The program was sold in 2017 to a Chicago-based telecommunication company.
The applications can include: border protection; both land and sea; disasters monitoring and management; contaminated areas monitoring; remote areas exploration, such as arctic areas, oceans, mountains, forests, deserts; rescue missions; military reconnaissance; oil pipes and power lines inspection; communication relay; high atmosphere scientific research; meteorology; auto and maritime traffic control; TV and cinema; Internet delivery network over remote areas; or just flying for entertainment.
The first prototype of AirStrato had a landing gear. After the initial flight tests the design team opted for a catapult that allowed the reduction of aircraft weight and added the capability to launch the AirStrato from remote areas, with no available runway. This is the reason for which we have created the Accelerator, a pneumatic launcher designed to allow the aircraft to take-off in less than one second from virtually any place on the planet.
Since the AirStrato had an on board recovery parachute, the aircraft could also land without the use of a runway.
Compressed air will propelled the AirStrato from 0 to 34 mph (55 km/h) in less than a second. The typical procedure was to push the AirStrato electric motors to full thrust and press two buttons from the throttle.
The Interface was the mission control center. It was designed to communicate with the AirStrato via satellite, no matter how far away it was from the aircraft. It allowed to view all flight parameters, to program the autopilot or to control the aircraft using inertial stabilization or in full manual mode. It also enabled the pilot to activate or deactivate sub-systems or to interact with the payload.
The HOTAS allowed the pilot to have much of the controls on the stick and throttle buttons, greatly reducing your response time. The buttons could be reconfigured or reassigned according to the mission requirements. From the throttle the pilot could initialize the Accelerator pressurization process, the launch of the aircraft and of course differential control of motors thrust. From the stick the pilot could can control the recovery parachute, the attached payload and navigate through the User Interface menu. On the throttle there were two reserved buttons that allowed the pilot to communicate with the civil aviation air traffic control.
Wing area (m2):
Empty weight (kg):
Max. payload weight (kg):
Max. take-off weight (kg):
Engine thrust SL (kgf):
6 x 20
Solar cells power (W):
Flight ceiling (m):
Take-off speed (km/h):
Sustained rate of climb (m/s):
Cruise speed (km/h)*:
Maximum speed (km/h)*:
Ferry range (km):
EMAC VDX PC104
XSens MTI 10
* At maximum altitude
** Depending on season for available sunlight