Scientists of DLR (German Aerospace Center) successfully performed a stratospheric flight with a small sized UAS being launched in 20km altitude. The goal of HABLEG (High Altitude Balloon Launched Experimental Glider) is to develop and test new technologies needed for unmanned stratospheric solar airplanes like the ones currently being developed by Google, Facebook and Airbus.
The aircraft and it´s systems were developed, build and tested by a small team of the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. The technology significantly reduces effort and costs in comparison to unmanned solar platform test flights, while also opening up new possibilities for scientific applications by offering controlled flight paths and safe return of balloon payloads.
Touch-down occurred less than 50m away from the launch site which makes it the first successful flight of this kind in Europe.
The team now plans to extend the capabilities of small unmanned platforms for stratospheric research applications. The goal is to increase mission parameters like flight time, altitude and mission capabilities as well as conducting science missions in collaboration with partners.