SNC Successfully Completes Global Stratospheric ISR Flight for U.K.’s Project Aether

October 26, 2022

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has completed a successful demonstration of its High-Altitude Balloon (HAB) for stratospheric communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). The test was part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Project Aether Flight 1 Assessment Phase contract.

SNC’s rapidly deployable HAB, developed, launched and operated by World View, offers global, persistent and uninterrupted ISR with communication capabilities at higher altitudes in near real-time. The system is capable of targeting geolocations anywhere in the world and offers immediately available and exploitable data using a range of existing resources.

SNC’s Flight 1 demonstration launched from Page, Arizona, performing key station-keeping missions before transitioning northeast across several states to more urban environments. The HAB’s solar arrays and batteries provide the power needed to integrate larger payloads, expanding mission opportunities and enhancing available mission capabilities. It is also capable of around-the-clock operations, exploiting the natural speed and directional diversity of stratospheric winds. The HAB is designed to address the MOD’s need for rapidly maneuverable, ultra-persistent wide area communications and ISR for long-duration missions with minimal resupply or maintenance efforts.

The next phase of demonstrations will include a 60-day test flight.

SNC was partnered with its subsidiary, Sierra Nevada Corporation Mission Systems UK, World View Enterprises, Inc. and Digital Receiver Technology, Inc. The team leverages a commercially mature platform and tools proven at the highest technology readiness level (TRL-9).


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