Giant space antenna designed to beam 5G to Earth

Cambridge Consultants is working to deliver the largest airborne communications antenna available commercially.

The technology consultancy and product development firm, which part of Capgemini, has built a functioning, scaled-down version of a wireless antenna designed to beam connectivity from the sky. The prototype, announced this month, is part of a four-year project with UK-based start-up Stratospheric Platforms Limited (SPL).

SPL is developing a High-Altitude Platform (HAP) and communication system that’s designed to deliver affordable, fast connectivity. The HAP aircraft system, as envisaged, would beam its Internet from the stratosphere, which is the second major layer of Earth’s atmosphere. The aircraft, with a 60-meter wingspan, would be powered by hydrogen and could deliver nine days of flight stamina. Each HAP could supply coverage over an area of up to 140 kilometres in diameter, and around 60 aircraft could blanket a country the size of the U.K., according to Cambridge Consultants.

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