MicroHAPS – Miniaturized High Altitude Platform for Extended Missions in the Stratosphere

High Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS) are stratospheric vehicles intended for a large variety of telecom, remote sensing and scientific research applications. In the context of an increasing worlwide interest for HAPS, the Space Systems group at DICI is developing MicroHAPS, a quick access stratospheric vehicle. The goal is to use standard, low cost weather balloons as carriers for an autonomous platform capable to support a 3 kg, 20 W payload for several days in the stratosphere. Activities underway are aimed at:
1) extending the present 2 hours residence period at an altitude of 20-35 km to 5-7 days;
2) developing onboard photovoltaic power generation for H24 uninterrupted operation;
3) providing attitude stabilization of the payload gondola.
So far, six successful stratospheric flights were carried out in 2018-19 at altitudes up to 32 km, testing two different telecom payloads for EM noise characterization at 2.4 GHz and AIS maritime traffic message detection. Flights planned for 2020 include testing of advanced lightweight solar panels, measurements of nighttime light pollution over urban areas, and dynamic characterization of the oscillatory motion of the payload gondola.

Research group
Salvo Marcuccio, Matteo Gemignani, Giuseppe Cataldi

External collaborations:
MBI Srl
CISAS – Università di Padova


Funding:

HEMERA – sub-call of a H2020 program by CNES, ASI etc.

Main publications:

Gemignani, M., Marcuccio, S., Flight Campaign Results and Prospects of High-Altitude Balloons for Low Cost Spacecraft Technology Testing, Proc. 25th AIDAA Conference, Rome, Italy, September 9-12, 2019, pp. 939-955. ISBN 978-88-943960-1-0