Advantages of HAPS System | Disadvantages of HAPS System

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of HAPS (High Altitude Platform System). It mentions benefits or advantages of HAPS System and drawbacks or disadvantages of HAPS System.

What is HAPS (High Altitude Platform System) ?

The high altitude platform systems are usually installed at the height of 17 to 50 Km. The layer at this height above the earth's surface is referred as stratospheric layer. These platforms are airplanes or airships (i.e. balloons). They are either manned or un-manned type. These systems are controlled from the ground control station.

These systems are used for narrowband / broadband telecommunication services, remote sensing and multimedia applications. The multimedia applications are TV, video on demand, telephony and high speed internet etc. The HAPS systems are mainly used in rural areas and under-served regions.

HAPS System

The figure depicts architecture of HAPS system. HAPS system can be developed using airship and high altitude aircraft. There are two links viz. uplink and downlink. Uplink refers to Ground station to HAPS where as downlink refers to HAPS to Ground station. Various frequency bands are used in HAPS system such as 2 GHz, 6 GHz, 47/48 GHz, 27/31 GHz etc. Uplink and downlink links use different frequency bands to avoid interference between them.

Benefits or advantages of HAPS System

The HAPS has many benefits similar to terrestrial and satellite systems and avoids many of the drawbacks of such systems. Following are the benefits or advantages of HAPS System:
➨HAPS system do not require launch vehicle. They can move with their own power throughout the globe or remain stationary at one location.
➨These systems can be brought down to the Earth. Hence maintenance and payload configuration tasks are easier and less expensive.
➨Due to its low altitude installation, HAPS offers higher capacity using high frequency reuse.
➨It offers low latency compare to satellites.
➨It offers wide coverage and less interference.
➨They are powered by solar technology and non-polluting fuel cells.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of HAPS System

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of HAPS System:
➨The critical challenge is presence of winds in the stratosphere. The average minimum wind velocity is 30 to 40 m/s at this layer which occurs between 65000 and 75000 ft based on latitude. HAPS systems are designed to withstand such winds but it is difficult to withstand sudden wind gusts which results into temporary or total loss of communication.

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