SoftBank Corp, the parent company of HAPSMobile, has selected the town of Spaceport, New Mexico, as the home for the next phase in its High Altitude Platform Station project. The project has been referred to as a Cell Tower in the Sky as it seeks to provide a telecommunications base in the stratosphere. Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes made the announcement.
Tests to provide internet connectivity to hard-to-reach places around the planet will be conducted in an appropriate venue. Spaceport America bills itself as “the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world” with “a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot runway, vertical launch complexes, and about 340 days of sunshine and low humidity.” Other companies pursuing space ventures who dock there include Virgin Galactic, Boeing, and EXOS Aerospace.
By sailing the stratosphere, HAPSMobile could potentially bring a signal to rural and remote areas that are largely inaccessible by ground transmissions. Aerovironment, SoftBank’s minority partner, is working alongside the industry giant to develop the unmanned solar-powered High Altitude Platform Station.