A Chinese company has launched a new concept in urban space technology – literally sending a communications “cloud” into the air.
KuangChi Science completed the first commercial flight of the Cloud in South China. Measuring 48 meters long and nearly 20 meters high, the platform buoyed by helium rose to 300 meters above the ground, providing integrated services such as communications, Internet access, as well as big data collection and analysis.
Licensed to fly within an eco park, the Cloud can be compared to a super tall communication tower or a low-flying satellite. It’s anchored to the ground by a synthetic cable, which also serves as a portal to access the data processing centre. Waterproof, designed with protection against the lightning and resisting changes in pressures and temperatures, the airship takes can resist winds at 20 meters per second when flying and those at 25 meters per second when anchored.
Luan Lin, chief technology officer of KuangChi Science, says that the system can be widely used in geographical surveying, traffic and wildfire monitoring, natural disasters and rescue missions.
Safe, cost-efficient and environment-friendly, the Cloud can rise to between 1 000 and 2 000 meters above the ground carrying a payload of 400kg. Tailored to various needs, the payload can include wireless base stations, WiFi equipment, TV and radio transmitters, allowing the system to be used in a range of missions like telecommunications, urban planning and management, air pollution monitoring and maritime surveillance.
High in the air, the Cloud covers a wider range and transmits signals far better than ground systems. In Dongguan’s case, the system’s WiFi communication capacity covers a radius of 30km, and the total areas covered can reach 3 000 square kilometers combined with ground relays.