Near Space Systems, Inc. (also dba Global Near Space Services or GNSS), is a privately-held corporation headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, whose premier ground- and/or sea-launched product is the StarTower, a tethered aerostat system. Led by subject matter experts representing more than 300 years of combined experience in commercial and military management, defense, engineering, weapon system development, military operations and technology research and development, NSS develops and manufactures technology for employment from Near Space.
StarTower is designed to help commercial, state, and federal customers obtain satellite-like telecommunications and surveillance capabilities for a fraction of the cost of space-based systems. StarTower is a patented, high-performance aerostat that offers unmatched operational capability. Its unique design enables operations in winds up to 70 knots.
StarTower provides line-of-sight range of 54 miles and a coverage area of 9,400 square miles for communications and sensor employment.
StarTower is a fully scalable system that can be sized to meet mission requirements and operating environments from sea to high-altitude mountainous terrain.
Variants of the StarTower ground system include a land-based, trailered system; a sea-based towed system; and a palletized system in multiple configurations for air transport. StarTower employs a non-integrated payload system that hangs below the envelope making it easy to switch payloads when the mission changes. The non-integrated payload system allows use of a wider range of payload without having to modify the upperstage envelope. A heavy-fuel generator on the ground system provides system electrical power for the payload, winches, telemetry, lighting, and other subsystems. The envelope is extended and retracted by a high-speed winch. The aerostat tether delivers not only electrical power to the payload but also multiple fiber optic cables for high-data-rate downloads from sensors. The payload system also provides wireless down, cross, and uplinks.
StarTower 200 and 500 models are now available for government and commercial sales.