TYVA Energie joins Thales Alenia Space’s Stratobus project

Interview of Frédéric BEZIAT – Stratobus Energy Storage Manager

Thales Alenia Space Stratobus

Thales Alenia Space is a ThalesLeonardo joint venture which designs and realizes innovative solutions at the cutting edge of technology.  It intervenes in various sectors: telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental monitoring, sciences, space exploration and orbital infrastructures.

Thales Alenia Space gives its customers (governments, institutions, space agencies, telecom operators) the opportunity to access unique services allowing to complete specific missions such as:

  • Locate and connect people and objects everywhere around the world,
  • Observe, explore and protect the planet,
  • Optimize the use of Earth and Solar system’s resources.

Thales Alenia Space benefits from over 40 years experience and unique diversity in terms of expertise, talents and know-how. The company is convinced space brings a new dimension to humankind in order to build a better and more sustainable life on Earth.

Logo Thales Alenia Space

Presentation of Stratobus

Thales Alenia Space has initiated the relevant project in 2016 which consist of the elaboration and development of Stratobus. It is an “blimp” type autonomous stratospheric airship that should evolve above the air traffic at altitudes of 18 to 20 km.

Stratobus benefits from a non-rigid envelope inflated with helium that maintains its shape through internal pressure. The airship features an electrical propulsion system composed with solar panels and batteries bringing a complete energy autonomy. From a technical point perspective, Stratobus’ development phase has led to the whole system’s optimization resulting on a 140 meters long airship concept. Regarding its powering, the decision was directed on a propulsion with 4 electrical engines self-powered through photovoltaic recharge with more than 1000 square meters of solar cells. The capacity objective is a 250 Kg payload for a 5 kW power. This mass may evolve if the usage of Stratobus is limited to areas with favourable stratospheric winds.  

The development phase of Stratobus has allowed to overcome many technological barriers leading on the maturing of its external envelope and flexible solar concentrator. It also allowed to improve the envelope tear technology for safety aspects as well as its high-efficiency propulsion system. Beside these technologies, system aspects are also essential to meld them into a safe and operational system.

Thales Alenia Space Stratobus

Stratobus © Thales Alenia Space


The project should emerge in the upcoming years. It will allow to achieve real time missions on a wide geographic area in order to improve intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications capabilities. Stratobus will notably embark telecommunication material or complete border monitoring and environmental variations missions.

The project challenge lies in the capacity to evolve and take advantage of the stratosphere. Indeed, it is a new operation field barely used so far enabling to realize long-term missions on several years. Moreover, stratosphere is the terrestrial atmosphere’s second layer allowing operations relatively close to the earth’s surface (18 to 20 Km from the ground). Thanks to this proximity, high resolution observation missions and optimum telecom missions’ link budget will be possible.

Vidéo Thales Alenia Space
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Collaboration with TYVA Energie

After performing a market study about Stratobus’ powering, Thales Alenia Space has decided to collaborate with TYVA Energie. One of the main reasons to choose TYVA Energie as supplier was the energy density of our lithium batteries. Indeed, we offer battery ranges with lightweight solutions benefiting from high energy densities bringing power while remaining compact. Moreover, we have modular batteries solutions allowing to update the energy system according to its specific requirements.

Thales Alenia Space has also appreciated TYVA Energie’s agility and reactivity. Indeed, the total control over our lithium batteries and the electronic systems they feature gives us the opportunity to change designs. Thus, we benefit from great flexibility allowing to facilitate procedures and exchanges.

We would like to thank all the institutional investors contributing to this project for their confidence and support in making this demonstration a reality. It is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious demonstrations ever undertaken, and will make Europe a pioneer in this new aerospace segment.

CEO of Thales Alenia Space

Project implementation

EuroHAPS (High Altitude Platform Systems) launch meeting including Stratobus demonstrators was held in January 2023 at Thales Alenia Space’s headquarters in Paris. Stakeholders were gathered for the official kick-off of the project’s events planning involving the approval of technical solutions developed so far.

Regarding TYVA Energie and Stratobus’ energy system, the work should start from 2023. Several batteries’ delivery phases have already been settled for the upcoming years following exchanges and developments from the partnership with Thales Alenia Space. Concerning lithium batteries themselves, specific core packs will be constituted from our Moduloo Ax range. Their particularity is to provide lightweight batteries with great capacity and unprecedented autonomy.

Video interview

Discover the video interview of Yannick COMBET, Stratobus Program Manager at Thales Alenia Space who told us more about Stratobus during the Paris Air Show 2023.

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