Abu Dhabi-based Mira Aerospace said its ApusDuo solar aircraft has successfully conducted a 5G connectivity test, marking the world’s first successful delivery of 5G connectivity from a fixed-wing HAPS (high altitude pseudo satellite) autonomous aircraft in the stratosphere.

The demonstration was conducted in Rwandan airspace in collaboration with its partners – Bayanat, a provider of world-class AI-powered geospatial solutions, and Uavos, an expert in developing unmanned solutions.

The 5G connectivity demonstration follows a previous stratospheric flight test conducted in Rwanda in June 2023, during which Mira Aerospace’s ApusDuo carried a dummy version of the payload.

The stratosphere-ready communications payload continuously delivered 5G connectivity for approximately 73 minutes in the stratosphere during ApusDuo’s stratospheric flight, during which it reached a maximum altitude of 16.9 km.

During the test, the stratosphere-ready 5G communications payload enabled a 5G Zoom video call, the first in the world.

The test system was composed of a service link from the communications payload installed on ApusDuo in the stratosphere and a feeder link from a terrestrial 5G base station. Since the radio waves transmitted and received operated on the same frequencies as existing smartphones and devices, a regular 5G smartphone was used in the test. 

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Successful ApusDuo HAPS Solar Aircraft Test Flight