HAPPIEST is a study funded by the European Space Agency and led by the Aerospace Aera of University of León. Other collaborators are Thales Alenia Space España, Aerobotics Germany and Deimos Engenharia Portugal.
The development of High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) has reached an outstanding level of maturity, with several flight demonstrations that augur soon to have operational capabilities. ESA, aware of the synergies among satellite and HAPS services, setup the HAPPIEST study to analyse the impact of the irruption of aerostatic HAPS into the telecommunications market, currently covered by space and terrestrial networks. Furthermore, some complementary payloads can serve interesting applications such as Earth observation and navigation services. The objective of HAPPIEST is to study the role of Aerostatic HAPS in the future Telecommunication Networks, identifying the most promising services and the resulting hybrid networks. In particular, a conceptual design has been developed in two reference scenarios where HAPS services are more valuable from the commercial point of view. This effort enables technical discussion on the technology maturity, economic estimations and programmatic solutions for a future ESA HAPS programme. The setup of a development roadmap for HAPS is another objective of the study.
The stratospheric airships have large inflatable membranes capable of retaining the lifting gas. Moreover, they are equipped with additional interior bags that contain air, adapting the internal pressure to the one outside so that the airship maintains its shape with minimum effort. In other possible architectures helium is enclosed in the inner bags (gas bags) while the air is confined in the outside membrane, which gives the aerodynamic shape.