Several programs from the last two decades alone promised the use of stratospheric platforms for comms and observation, most of which fell through in the end. However, recent investments and subsequent mission successes from commercial players such as Alphabet and Airbus have injected a fresh wave of hope.
Research firm NSR said in a report last year that high-altitude aircraft, including using, a stratospheric drone, balloons and airships, could bring in $1.7 billion in revenue over the next decade, and estimated there were about 40 development programs under way. It said current efforts are better funded than previous attempts to commercialize stratospheric aircraft,.
The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) commercial imaging market is an emerging industry, with rapid technology improvements as companies compete to remain cost-effective.