Definition

What Is Near Space?

Near Space is the area between airspace and outer space—65,000 to 325,000 feet above sea level. For a frame of reference, 100,000 feet above sea level is the height of 80 Empire State Buildings.

Near Space provides several clear benefits over airspace and outer space.

  • Near Space avoids the traffic and vulnerability found in commercial airspace.
  • Near Space avoids the natural interference found in outer space.
  • Near Space provides higher sensor resolution and accuracy than from space.
  • Near Space enables faster response—new vehicle launches take hours vs. months.
  • Near Space is accessible, making it easier to repair, change or improve a vehicle's payload.

Because of these benefits, Near Space is the ideal medium for communications and sensing to support both governmental and commercial requirements.