High-altitude balloon fleet to provide high-res imagery, analytics

March 17, 2020 //By Rich Pell
High-altitude balloon fleet to provide high-res imagery, analytics
Stratospheric data and information services company World View has announced plans to build and deploy a fleet of Stratollites - remotely operated, navigable, un-crewed stratospheric balloon vehicles - over North and Central America starting this summer.

The company's high-altitude Stratollite balloons are designed to enable commercial and government customers to perceive, interpret, and act on critical sensor data to gain deeper strategic insights. According to the company, its imagery and analytics products are superior to satellite imagery in spatial and temporal resolution, and its analytics and interpretation methods further enhance knowledge and understanding for a broad range of applications.

The latest announcement comes after a series of successful test and development flights to "sharpen" vehicle flight and navigation capabilities. The company says it is in final preparations to offer customers high resolution imagery and associated analytics products from an integrated network of vehicles operating in the stratosphere for a variety of use cases.

“We are excited to be on the cusp of delivering high value services to initial customers in North and Central America," says World View President & CEO Ryan Hartman. "Our Stratollite fleet will begin launching in the summer time frame, and initial operational capability (IOC)will follow thereafter with a build-up to full fleet operations expected in first half of 2021.”

The company will provide high-resolution imagery access at 15-cm ground sample distance (GSD) using precision instruments provided by the company’s industry partners and suppliers. Imagery delivery to end users is via the company’s secure data portal on the World View website.

“As we continue our efforts to build out the stratospheric ecosystem, we are utilizing the best the industry has to offer in terms of commercial instrumentation," says World View Senior Vice President of Engineering and Manufacturing Dr. Matteo Genna. "However, we are also in the process of implementing a custom electro-optical (EO) sensor to provide higher resolution imagery at better than 5-cm GSD. The unique ability to safely land and refurbish the Stratollite allows continuous upgrades and enhancements during operational services delivery.”

Stratollites can host a variety of payloads and are operated under full navigational control, with applications that could include tracking

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