Successful design and testing for the Stratobus airship’s Gondola Mobility System

Key figures

250
kg

de charge utile

100
%

adapté aux conditions de la stratosphère

20
km

d'altitude

CNIM a key partner of the STRATOBUSTM programme

Stratobus is an 85,000 cu. m airship designed to operate at an altitude of 20 km, in the lower layer of the stratosphere.

 Offering a 250 kg payload, upgradeable to 450 kg, Stratobus will carry equipment to support civilian and military telecommunications, monitoring, observation and navigation missions.

Designed for geostationary operation (but mobile if required), and self-sufficient from an energy perspective thanks to its four electric motors powered by solar panels during the day and by batteries at night, the craft can remain on station for up to a year.

Tethered aerostats & Airships

We are delighted to be working with CNIM as a key partner in the Stratobus project. CNIM has been involved from the outset, subsequently stepping up its contribution by supplying ground support resources and acquiring AirStar Aerospace. The full-scale mock-up of the nacelle is the result of a joint-engineering stage that demonstrated the viability and robustness of the Stratobus autonomous stratospheric aerostat’s heliotropic mechanism

notes Yannick Combet, Thales Alenia Space’s Project Manager for Stratobus. 

An innovative mobility system

CNIM develops the “Gondola Mobility System”, a special subassembly on which the Stratobus communication and/or monitoring payloads are mounted, will enable the aerostat to rotate around its longitudinal axis.

This is necessary to enable the aerostat’s solar panels to track the sun’s movements in order to efficiently harness its radiant energy.

This is a critical system in ultralight carbon for the Stratobus’s operation and energy independence.

Key expertise for the space sector

CNIM applied its core expertise to this technological challenge:
 

  • Advanced computing and simulation
  • High-precision electromechanical system design
  • Expertise in composite materials
  • Operational safety

 

Discover our industrial facility

A mobility system patented

A joint patent application with Thales Alenia Space has been filed for the “Gondola Mobility System”.
This is a complex system, due to its significant operating constraints: in addition to the rotation function, it must precisely maintain the nacelle’s position while accommodating variations in inclination (in preparation for landing, for example) as well as significant expansion in the airship’s fabric shell.

Building of a full-scale test bed

To validate the system and the performances of the mobility system, CNIM has built a full-scale test bed infrastructure which measures 30 m in length and stands 10 m tall.

Our integrated industrial plant and technical capabilities were the key to building this large test facility. This is the ideal scale on which to validate a system that is extremely sensitive and must be finely adjusted

explains Maxime Lauer, CNIM’s Project Manager.