QCHAPS – Quantum Communications & HAPS: A Feasibility Study

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Interest in the use of aerial platforms for communications has steadily grown, as has the number and types of platform available. These range from tethered hybrid helium balloon kite-like systems at relatively low altitudes, to aircraft or airships at high altitudes. These higher altitude systems (typically 17-22km) are often referred to generically as HAPS / HAPs (High Altitude Platform Stations / High Altitude Pseudo Satellites, or High Altitude Platforms). The usefulness of specific platforms for any application is determined by multiple variables and constraints, including altitude and stability of the platform, as well as payload size / weight, power requirements etc. This project is a feasibility study intended to provide the basis for future experimental work / technical demonstration by bringing together the relevant expertise across HAPS, HAPS-based communications, QKD in free space, and sat QKD receivers / ground-stations, with input from industry perspectives.