Solar Powered High Altitude and Long Endurance Platforms

The long-term goal of the project is the development of platforms as a replacement or addition to satellites. The high flying altitude (>15km) implies no influence of clouds on the generation of solar power and no interference with commercial air traffic. The possibility to quickly deploy and replace the aircraft is a huge advantage compared to satellites.

ELHASPA, Electric High Altitude Solar Powered Aircraft


 Preparation for a flight experiment

ELHASPA is a demonstration and research vehicle to advance technology and test applications for infinite high altitude solar flight. Many problems from aerodynamics over thermal management to guidance complicate the task.

The aircraft and its systems are developed and manufactured in cooperation with several companies of the aerospace industry including EADS-Astrium, EADS-Cassidian, Steinbeis Flugzeug- und Leichtbau GmbH and Roedelmodell.

The key aspects for DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics are:

  • Modeling, simulation and control of flexible aircraft
  • Mission planning, optimization and guidance
  • Efficient propulsion system and actuators
  • Avionic systems for long-endurance missions


The first phase of the project succeeded with the
first flight on November 13, 2011

Aircraft Specifications

 Wingspan  23 m
 Length  10 m
 Empty weight  100 kg
 Payload 5 kg 
 Engine power 2 x 2 kW 

First flight of solar airplane ELHASPA on November 13, 2011.

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