A major developer of telecommunications and remote-sensing satellites is now working on a high-altitude platform that could perform many of those same functions, albeit much closer to Earth. Dubbed Stratobus, the concept has long been under study at Thales Alenia Space, a Franco-Italian joint venture that recently received €17 million ($19 million) from a French public bond initiative to develop a prototype of a stratospheric airship. Another €3 million may be in the offing from ...

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