Sierra County, New Mexico- HAPSMobile Inc., a subsidiary of Japan’s telecommunications operator SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) along with its minority owner and aircraft development partner AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), held the first successful flight of the Sunglider™ solar-powered high-altitude platform system (HAPS) at Spaceport America on July 23, 2020.
This is the fourth flight of the unmanned (HAPS), which previously flew at Edwards Air Force Base, and the final test before HAPSMobile begins preparations for stratospheric test flights at Spaceport America.
Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes, announced in June that HAPSMobile and AeroVironment had chosen Spaceport America for test operations and development of their specialized communications platform. The so-called cell-tower in the sky aims to provide better communications to under-served areas, including rural communities. HAPSMobile and AeroVironment invested $8 million in constructing a hangar, offices and UAV test pad on the north side of the horizontal launch area at Spaceport America. They currently have approximately 35 employees living and working in Las Cruces.
“Congratulations to HAPSMobile. This is a very significant event for Spaceport America,” said Scott McLaughlin, Acting CEO of Spaceport America. “With the cooperation of our partners at the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range, we are able to host ground breaking events for our customers that will produce long-term economic benefits to New Mexico.”
Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot by 200-foot runway, vertical launch complexes, and about 340 days of sunshine and low humidity.
Some of the most respected companies in the commercial space industry are tenants at Spaceport America: Virgin Galactic, HAPSMobile/ AeroVironment, UP Aerospace, and SpinLaunch. With customers. Boeing, EXOS Aerospace and Sugarhouse Aerospace regularly using the complex for testing and launches.
Media Contact for Spaceport America
Public Relations Coordinator