NASA has outlined several goals and objectives regarding cost-effective long-duration access to the stratosphere for environmental observation and scientific research. The High-Altitude, Long-Endurance (HALE) mission is to fly a payload weighing 22 or more pounds for at least 30 days at or above 60,000 ft altitude, while maintaining position within 100 nautical miles of a target point on the ground. In order to balance these mission objectives with important operational factors such as cost of deployment, end to end logistics, and global reach, Moonprint Solutions and Gossamer Aerospace propose the use of a solar powered, super-pressure airship, building on recent advances in materials and commercial components, to create the S-HALE system (Stratospheric-HALE). S-HALE will employ novel lightweight structural concepts in conjunction with proven stratospheric airship technologies to meet NASA needs. Advanced methods of vehicle handling and launch will also be employed to minimize risk.
S-HALE will cost-effective long-duration access to the stratosphere for environmental observation and scientific research. This includes climate impact studies, crop performance, communications relays, and weather monitoring.
S-HALE has numerous military applications including ground moving target identification, persistent surveillance, and targeted reconnaissance. Numerous commercial applications exist including disaster relief, internet access, and crop performance tracking.