back to article Brit startup would like to beam 5G connectivity down at you from hydrogen-fuelled drones

A British startup is hoping to strap 5G antennas to liquid-hydrogen-powered high-altitude pseudo-satellites in the hope of replacing mobile base stations on the ground. Stratospheric Platforms made a test flight over Germany last Monday (19 October) using a Grob 520 high-altitude "optionally manned" aircraft, and the firm is …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All that for 140km coverage....

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      16 of these would cover the entire UK.

      (UK = 242,500 km², these cover 140km ø, so π *70 * 70 = ~15,400 km², 242,500/15,400 ~= 15.7)

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        (Damn it too late to edit!) PS: I know that 16 wouldn't literally cover the UK, we're not a uniform box that you can pack optimally with circles, some drones would be covering water, overlapping with other drones, and that we'd need more than just the drones currently in the sky to provide uninterrupted coverage.

        Just that 140km ø isn't actually that small.

  2. UCAP Silver badge

    Delicate structures

    the delicate lightweight structures which give them such long endurance are very poorly suited for coping with winds and turbulence below their ~65,000ft operating height

    I was involved (somewhat peripherally) with trials on a HAPS platform (now, like so many, cancelled). The flight trials had to be cancelled since they could not risk getting the HAPS out of the hanger - the gusting up to 4 mph, and the HAPS could not handle more than 2 mph (I kid you not).

    These things are incredibly light and very fragile. The platform I was involved could, in theory, be lifter by one person, but had such a huge wingspan that two people were normally used to life it to stop the wings tilting over and crashing on the ground.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Delicate structures

      I wonder if you could lift them above the turbulence with something like an airship before unfurling/exposing the fragile bits and launching them.

      1. batfink

        Re: Delicate structures

        or just, maybe, use an airship to carry the equipment and cut out the middle-man (middle-craft??)

  3. Chris G

    Reminds me

    Of the old jokes in '70s Germany;

    "Would you like a Lockheed Starfighter?"


    "Well buy a farm and wait."

    5G loitering at 65000 ft combined with Murphy's Law,....

    1. David Shaw

      Re: Reminds me

      great album too

      1. ClockworkOwl

        G for Germany...

        Found a few "retaining plungers" myself...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want one

    Can I have one setup and tethered in my back garden at a couple of hndred feet? Can share the bandwidth in my immediate neighbouhood. And none of the Nimbys will complain it as an eyesore, given the pathetic state of Broadband and 3G/4G (lask of) in blighty.

  5. Snowy Silver badge

    Assuming all that.

    What is the total bandwidth that it proves and how many simultaneous connections can it handle.

    I get the feeling your not going to park on of these over a large city and then have it provide coverage for all of it. Could be useful to cover a large area of sparse population, eg parts of Scotland.

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