BROOKLYN, N.Y., July 19, 2023 -- goTenna, the world's leading provider of mobile mesh networking solutions, and Urban Sky, a leading developer of stratospheric flight and remote sensing technology, announced a groundbreaking achievement in network coverage at the 2023 Tough Stump Tech Rodeo. During this annual off-grid communications and technology expo, Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head (NSWC IHD), Urban Sky, and goTenna showcased their capacity to achieve network coverage across an expansive 14,412 square miles.
The rapid deployment capability of Urban Sky's balloon, within five minutes of parking a vehicle, introduces a game-changing mobile solution for operators. The combination of this rapid deployment feature and goTenna's long-range communications capabilities offers ground-based forces a practical and reliable connectivity solution over significant distances.
"This showcase represented a breakthrough in low-cost, rapidly deployable, long-range stratospheric communications," said Andrew Antonio, Co-founder & CEO of Urban Sky. "We were thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our new flight vehicle, the Microballoon™, alongside the goTenna and NSWC teams."
The project was a meticulously coordinated multi-balloon operation, strategically positioning one balloon at Mission Field Airport in Livingston, MO, and the other at Ennis Lake in Ennis, MO. This project was funded by NSWC IHD, a naval research and development organization within the United States Navy.
"This demonstration shows the enhanced capability High-Altitude Balloons (HABs) provide and the goal of NSWC Indian Head in the management and execution of this project is to prove greater capabilities and flexibility for operators and expeditionary units," said Jason Bruce, Engineering Project Manager of NSWC, Indian Head. "This payload-agnostic system is designed to provide extended over-the-horizon, line of sight connectivity with wider coverage areas, more affordability and time on station, with significantly less maintenance and cost requirements."
Enabled by Urban Sky stratospheric balloons, goTenna Pro Series devices achieved and maintained an altitude of 57,000 Feet Mean Sea Level (MSL) across two balloons for a flight time of five hours. The elevated positioning provided the ideal platform to establish a Line-of-Sight (LOS) network spanning at least 14,412 square miles, with linear distances exceeding 130 miles from the central balloon.
"The powerful combination of goTenna and Urban Sky empowers military, law enforcement, and public safety operators with the remarkable capability to rapidly deploy expansive, pervasive communications networks anywhere in the world," said goTenna's CEO, Ari Schuler. "We are grateful for the invaluable collaboration with Urban Sky and NSWC Indian Head as we advance groundbreaking technologies that revolutionize operational safety by establishing seamless communication in austere environments."
This achievement builds upon the previous point-to-point record of 126 miles at the 2022 Tough Stump Tech Rodeo.
About Urban Sky
Urban Sky, a stratospheric technology and remote sensing company, is developing the innovative new stratospheric Microballoon™, a high-altitude remote sensing platform that is leveraging component miniaturization, first-of-its-kind balloon reusability and the high vantage point of the stratosphere to drastically reduce the cost of high-resolution remote sensing and communications over very broad areas.
About NSWC Indian Head
NSWC IHD is the Department of Defense Energetics Center and serves as the DoD Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Program lead. NSWC IHD focuses on the research, development, test, evaluation and in-service support of energetics and energetic systems.