Aerostar Provides Cellular Connectivity from the Stratosphere Via Thunderhead Balloon System


Aerostar collaborates with Abside Networks to deliver LTE from 70,000 ft., successfully demonstrating a versatile solution for delivering internet to underserved, denied or disaster-affected populations.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (April 21, 2022) Raven Industries announced today that Aerostar International, Inc. (Raven Aerostar) and Abside Networks successfully demonstrated 4G LTE connectivity from the stratosphere in a series of test flights. Raven Aerostar's Thunderhead Balloon System provided connectivity through Abside's HAPS-RAN (High Altitude Platform Station - Radio Access Network) product line.

"With a working cellular base station, our balloon systems provide everyday people with vital communications during times of crisis — when it's needed most," said Russ VanDerWerff, Director of Engineering for Raven Aerostar. “Raven Aerostar can recreate critical communications links in the aftermath of storms, floods, wildfires and other natural disasters that are causing devastating disruptions to power and infrastructure.”

Thunderhead balloons navigate the stratosphere by leveraging diverse winds and changing altitude as needed. They can linger over a designated area for weeks to months using solar power. Paired with Abside's communications technology, Thunderhead Balloon Systems offer an inexpensive, long-duration capability that can be deployed rapidly to anywhere in the world.

The team demonstrated stable cellular connections to and from unmodified cellular devices from Google, Samsung and others to deliver up to 23 Mbps downlink and 6 Mbps uplink via 4G LTE, fast enough to support internet access, file transfer and videoconferencing services.

"Abside's 4G and 5G product line dedicated to High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) has already served commercial 4G users throughout the world, during a previous partnership with Loon, LLC (formerly known as Project Loon), a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc,” said Laurent Perraud, Abside CEO. "We are thrilled to continue this legacy in new ways."

About Raven Industries, Inc.

Raven Industries provides innovative, high-value products and systems that solve great challenges throughout the world. Raven is a leader in precision agriculture, high-performance specialty films, and aerospace and defense solutions, and the company’s groundbreaking work in autonomous systems is unlocking new possibilities in areas like farming, national defense, and scientific research. Since 1956, Raven has designed, produced, and delivered exceptional solutions, earning the company a reputation for innovation, product quality, and unmatched service. Raven is a subsidiary of CNH Industrial (NYSE: CNHI / MI: CNHI), a global capital goods company specializing in equipment and services for Agriculture and Construction. For more information, visit

About Raven Aerostar

Raven Aerostar consists of wholly-owned subsidiaries Aerostar International, Inc. and Aerostar Technical Solutions, Inc. Dedicated to connecting, protecting and saving lives through its work as an Aerospace & Defense provider, Raven Aerostar’s core product offerings include stratospheric platforms, radar and perception sensors, technical services, tethered aerostats, and protective wear. From engineering services to mission planning and support, research and design, and the development of advanced technical products — Raven Aerostar offers tailored turnkey solutions for a multitude of successful operations. Visit for more information.

About Abside Networks

Founded in September of 2012, Abside Networks is a world leader in high performance 5G RAN networks. Abside began with specialized designs of custom RF front-ends for 4G LTE base stations for customers deploying commercial networks and Abside has developed and delivered multiple generations of LTE communications systems, both terrestrial and stratospheric. Abside Networks is based in Concord, MA, USA. Visit Abside online at