NSR’s newly released High Altitude Platforms (HAPs), 2nd Edition report forecasts $1.7 billion in cumulative HAPs revenues over the next decade for airships, balloons and pseudo-satellite platforms. Of the three platforms, the balloon market remains the largest and strongest driver of revenues. Latin America, Africa and Asia present the largest service opportunity, mainly for communication and remote-sensing applications, while North America and Europe dominate HAPs equipment revenues.
“High military interest for remote-sensing and surveillance applications, along with commercial interest in bringing Internet to the unconnected billions, facilitates HAPs market growth. Despite competition from small satellite constellations and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), HAPs will see steady growth in the coming decade due to their unique value proposition, especially in terms of CAPEX and coverage,” states Siddharth Shihora, NSR Analyst and lead report author. “Programs meant to develop HAPs for commercial use have been on the horizon since the early 1990s, and most never materialized. The current HAPs wave is better-equipped to fund R&D and develop the market for these innovative platforms,” Shihora added.
Currently, more than 40 HAPs programs are in various stages of development. These programs target traditional and unique applications such as communications, remote sensing, surveillance, orbital access and near-space tourism. Driven by lower costs and lower latency, HAPs offer a complementary and sometimes unique value proposition creating new opportunities. Balloons are the most mature market for HAPs with 50% of all programs currently operational. And, while most HAPs are still in preliminary stages of development, recent investments from large telecom operators, such as SoftBank, indicate growing interest in the potential for HAPs.