Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of our most commonly asked questions. If you would like to ask us another question, get in touch by emailing us info@altaeros.com

  • What happens to the SuperTower in inclement weather, e.g. lightning, snow, very strong winds?
  • The Altaeros SuperTower is designed to survive extremely high winds and operate in heavy precipitation. A secondary conductive path within the electromechanical tether grounds the SuperTower and protects sensitive electrical equipment from lightning current surge. In case of severe weather storms, the system can autonomously dock and relaunch as soon as the storm passes.

  • Why do you use helium?
  • The Altaeros SuperTower will use helium for all deployments. Modern airships, blimps and aerostats have used helium for decades to lift heavy equipment into the air for long periods of time to film our sports stadiums and protect our borders. The Altaeros SuperTower adapts existing industrial-grade fabric technology to achieve a low gas leak rate similar to modern helium inflatables. Hydrogen is also approved and deployed as a lifting gas for aerostats and could be used for future products.

  • How is the SuperTower able to stay in one place?
  • The SuperTower is connected to a ground station with three load-bearing tethers (one of the tethers also has power conductors and an optical fiber for data transmission). Winches on the ground station reel the tethers in and out to maintain height and stability. The ground station is able to spin a full 360 degrees to allow the SuperTower to face in any direction.

  • What if the shell is punctured?
  • The SuperTower is made with high strength, tear resistant fabric. The shell is fitted with sensors that identify pressure variations which are indicative of punctures in the fabric. If a tear is detected, the SuperTower will autonomously dock and the operator will be alerted. For decades, similar aerostat technology has proven extremely resilient because the internal pressure of an aerostat is only slightly higher than the external environment, resulting in very low leak rates.

  • What if a tether breaks loose?
  • The Altaeros SuperTower has three load-bearing tethers. If one of the tethers breaks loose, the remaining tethers will reel in the shell. In the very unlikely scenario that all three tethers break loose, an automatic vent will begin to release helium to allow the SuperTower to slowly descend to the ground. Similar safety features have been reliably demonstrated on hundreds of existing aerostats.

  • How many people do you need to operate the Altaeros SuperTower? What about in extreme weather?
  • The Altaeros SuperTower requires no crew for day-to-day operation. The system is monitored remotely and, in case of extreme weather, the system will autonomously dock for the duration of the storm and will resume service as soon as the weather allows. In general, the SuperTower can operate through the vast majority of weather conditions, which means weather related downtime is very infrequent. Like other industrial equipment, periodic maintenance activities will require service personal to visit the site from time-to-time.

  • How does the Altaeros SuperTower operate safely in the airspace?
  • The Altaeros SuperTower was designed for easy permitting under existing airspace and environmental regulations. Per FAA requirements, the Altaeros SuperTower is height limited similar to skyscrapers and radio antennas. The shell is fitted with lightweight indicator lights for nighttime deployment, and operates with authorization from the FAA.

  • Does the SuperTower need special telecommunications equipment to provide service?
  • The SuperTower is hardware agnostic and uses standard telecommunications equipment found on regular cell towers. Altaeros works directly with service providers and uses their equipment to integrate seamlessly into existing mobile networks.

  • What types of service can the SuperTower provide?
  • The SuperTower payload can be configured for many different types of service. Some examples include: LTE/5G service, industrial/agricultural IoT, fixed wireless, public safety, environmental monitoring, and others. Reach out to us at sales@altaeros.com for more information on payload configurations.