In 1969, Raven Industries was the first entity to fly an unmanned airship in the stratosphere. High Platform II achieved powered flight at 70,000 ft. for two hours with a 5 lb. telemetry and propulsion payload.
In 2005, Raven Aerostar teamed with Southwest Research Institute to develop the HiSentinel airship, a tactical high altitude airship capable of sustaining station-keeping flight for 30-90 days. HiSentinel carried a 60 pound user payload and telemetry pod to 74,000 feet and achieved powered flight for 1.5 hours during a five hour flight. Since this historic flight, additional flights were completed in 2008 and 2010.
For the last 40 years, companies have been challenged with flying an unmanned airship between 60,000-70,000 feet above the surface of the earth. The requirements of this mission are highly complex and interdependent. Raven Aerostar continues extensive development of the next high altitude airship today.