In Washington D.C., at the AUVSI show, Titan Aerospace unveiled the SOLARA atmospheric satellite, a High Altitude Long Endurance solar atmospheric satellite capable of carrying telecom, reconnaissance, atmospheric sensors and other payloads. It has a 164 ft / 50 m wingspan and thousands of high efficiency solar cells, the SOLARA is capable of staying aloft for months or years at a time at an altitude of 65,000 ft / 20 km. During the day, solar energy powers propulsion and payload and charges battery banks for use at night.
The SOLARA promises to open the door for stationing payloads near the edge of earth’s atmosphere. Unlike space satellites, the SOLARA is far less expensive to buy and launch, has a larger launch window, and most importantly, can easily be brought back for maintenance or payload upgrades. This allows the flexibility of flying different missions with the same serviceable airframe.
Source: Titan Aerospace