Press Archive

PRESS RELEASE – 20 February, 2024

Stratodynamics joins the HAPS Alliance

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc, a provider of high-altitude flight services utilizing uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed for earth observation, has joined the HAPS Alliance, a non-profit association dedicated to building a high altitude platform stations (HAPS) ecosystem that brings digital connectivity to everyone, everywhere.

As a member of the HAPS Alliance, Stratodynamics will collaborate with world-leading telecommunications, technology, aviation, and aerospace companies to accelerate commercial adoption, advocate for safety and regulatory standards, and build a cooperative HAPS ecosystem.

This year, Stratodynamics will be launching a larger version of their stratospheric glider known as the HiDRON Suborbital.  The new clean sheet aircraft designed for stratospheric flight can carry a 6kg payload in a 9U CubeSat form factor (10 x 10 x 90 cm). Furthermore, the company is adding Australia to its list of launch locations which also includes the US and Canada.

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. CEO Gary Pundsack said, “The greatest innovations arise when a community engages to solve complex problems. Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. is pleased to join the HAPS Alliance as we pioneer high-altitude flight with efficient aircraft that minimize environmental impacts.”

The HAPS Alliance members collaborate with other organizations to influence regulatory direction while promoting the benefits of HAPS in the stratosphere. The HAPS Alliance working groups bring together industry leaders to develop product specifications and promote standardization in the following ways:

  • Telecom: Advocate for global harmonization of HAPS spectrum at ITU and national level; influence emerging commercial standards, including 3GPP non-terrestrial networks.
  • Aviation: Promote industry-managed cooperative separation in the upper airspace, including collaborative testing, simulations, and pilot programs.
  • Commercialization: Demonstrate the industry’s viability to potential customers and build a cooperative haps ecosystem.
  • Interoperability: Develop product specifications and promote the standardization of interoperable haps network elements.

About HAPS Alliance 

The HAPS Alliance is an industry association of High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) industry leaders that include telecommunications, technology, aviation and aerospace companies, as well as public and educational institutions. United by a vision to address diverse social issues and create new value through the utilization of high-altitude vehicles in the stratosphere, the Alliance is working to accelerate the development and commercial adoption of HAPS technology by promoting and building industry-wide standards, interoperability guidelines and regulatory policies in both the telecommunication and aviation industries. For more information, please visit


Stratodynamics CEO, Gary Pundsack featured on SPACE Marketing Podcast with Izzy House

Here’s a link to the podcast episode. Thank you Izzy!

PRESS RELEASE – 7 juLY, 2022
The HiDRON Featured in the New RC Soaring Digest

Check our Terence Gannon’s excellent cover story, “Like Soaring on Mars”  at this link.

PRESS RELEASE – 22 june, 2022

Stratodynamics Wins Top Honours at  Air Traffic Management Awards for the HiDRON

Here’s  a link to the award announcement


Spaceport America’s 1st podcast of 2022:
Feature interview with Stratodynamics CEO, Gary Pundsack

Here’s a link to the episode. Thanks Alice!


Stratodynamics Featured in Aerospace Testing International

Stratodynamics is proud to be included in this feature as a major player in the stratosphere alongside Airbus, Prismatic and AeroVironment.  Click on this link to read more about or HAPS offering and the newest developments of the HiDRON.

PRESS RELEASE – 29 June, 2021

Stratodynamics and UAVOS Perform Successful Stratospheric Mission at Spaceport America

Stratodynamics Inc. and UAVOS have successfully performed a series stratospheric flights with the HiDRONTM, an autonomous aircraft, at Spaceport America, New Mexico. The mission objectives were to advance new systems for forward sensing turbulence detection onboard aircraft at near-space and commercial flight altitudes.

The early June flight campaign was supported by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program to advance turbulence detection sensors developed by the University of Kentucky (UKY) and NASA’s Langley Research Center. The results will cross validate data from multiple probes with flight data from the HiDRON.

The balloon launched HiDRON stratospheric glider achieved controlled flight following a release from a sounding balloon at altitudes above 82,000 ft. (25 km) on both June 1 and 4 and 98,000 ft (30 km) on June 6. The UAVOS designed autopilot demonstrated a breakthrough in autonomous control during the critical ‘pullout phase’.  At the 98,000 ft apogee, the HiDRON released from the balloon in zero-gravity conditions, accelerated rapidly, approaching 300 mph (480 kph) in the first 15 seconds of flight. The HiDRON completed the pullout phase and achieved controlled flight at an altitude above 92,000 ft (28 km), 7000 ft. higher than the record setting SR-71 Blackbird while travelling at a 280 mph (450 kph) ground speed. The HiDRON then glided in a controlled flight path back toward Spaceport America’s runway for approximately 4.5 hours while recording flight and payload data. Before landing, the team also tested the autonomous soaring algorithm with the HiDRON gaining almost 3000 ft of altitude by self-centering in a convection thermal.

“This mission represents a major milestone for Stratodynamics in achieving controlled, autonomous flight at record-setting altitudes and with aircraft’s aerodynamically efficient airframe capable of utilizing available natural energy. The HiDRON also performs as an extremely sensitive instrument that can detect turbulence and correlate data collected from payload sensors. This campaign will contribute to Stratodynamics’ turbulence detection systems currently in development for multiple aviation-based applications” said Gary Pundsack, CEO Stratodynamics.

It Takes a Team

The flight campaign team included Aliaksei Stratsilatau, CEO of UAVOS (HiDRON autopilot developer and supplier), Dr. Sean Bailey, Principal Investigator and Ryan Nolin, flight technician from UKY, Dr. Qamar Shams, sensor inventor from NASA Langley, as well as balloon launch specialists, Andrew Denney and Victor Davison from the Physical Sciences Lab at New Mexico State University to assist with launch logistics. This multi-member collaboration converged at Spaceport America to combine the novel, high-altitude aerial platform with multi-hole wind probe and infrasonic microphone sensors to advance forward detection of turbulence systems. During the ascent phase, the platform captured a stunning view of New Mexico which has recently been selected as NASA’s June 17 Image of the Day.

Researchers participating in the flight test supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities include UKY researchers Anisa Haghighi and Dr. Sean Bailey and Dr. Shams of NASA’s Langley Research Center. The group will spend the next several months analyzing the sensor data to identify turbulent events and their proximity to the airborne sensors. Bailey adds, “The HiDRON aircraft was an ideal platform for these investigations. Its controlled descent provided us with many hours of data and increased our ability to observe randomly occurring events.  We look forward to examining the data more closely to see what we can learn about turbulence in the atmosphere.”

UAVOS’ lead autopilot developer and CEO Aliaksei Stratsilatau, adds, “The HiDRON successfully completed all of the missions proving that UAVOS’ scalable, fully integrated avionics system as well as flight-proven hardware continue to ensure HiDRON is at the forefront of stratospheric missions for the long-term. This succeeded today thanks to the combined hard work of NASA’s Langley Research Center, Stratodynamics Inc., the University of Kentucky, and the UAVOS team”.

Henry Cathey, Director of the New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory Aerospace Division said, “PSL has many decades of supporting small to large balloon flight missions to safely enable science and research. It’s part of our DNA and we are happy to be a key part of this successful set of flights.”

“The PSL team was enthusiastic to be part of this pioneering launch, “said Andrew Denney, Lead Electrical Engineer at PSL and principal investigator for this effort. “Our goal is to provide launch services and expertise that support advancements in research and technology. The safety of the crew and research instrumentation remains at the forefront of our launch priorities; as does the success of our partners”.

Scott McLaughlin, Executive Director of Spaceport America, noted “This truly is exciting science and technology. It combines UAV’s, balloons, and infrasonics to measure turbulence in the atmosphere in a way no one else has done. We are very happy to have had their team testing at Spaceport America.”

UAVOS Co. is a leading developer of innovative solutions for unmanned air, ground and marine applications and specializes in autopilots and UAV accessories.

Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot by 200-foot runway, vertical launch complexes, and about 340 days of sunshine and low humidity.

NMSU Physical Science Laboratory

Founded in 1946 in response to the nation’s space and rocket programs, PSL’s growth in capability and talent has enabled the university to provide exceptional support to numerous scientific and technical activities across the nation and around the globe.  Today’s domain expertise includes Electronic Warfare, Counter Measures, Cybersecurity, Telemetry and Missile Systems, Aerospace and Scientific Ballooning. PSL maintains a catalog of telemetry and antenna systems designed and built in our laboratory. Additionally, custom flight hardware can be designed to meet customer needs.
Image Gallery:


Stratodynamics Joins Perlan Project for the Launch of Atmospheric Research Team to Assist External Organizations

Perlan Atmospheric Research Team (PARTners) extends aerospace and
climate expertise, plus unique aircraft resources to advance atmospheric research.

The world-recording setting team at the Perlan Project today announced that it has launched PARTners, a newly formed consortium of leading scientists, meteorologists, test pilots and aviators from Stratodynamics Aviation Inc., AV Experts LLC and WeatherExtreme Ltd., dedicated to unlocking the most intriguing mysteries of the atmosphere. PARTners brings together expertise and cutting-edge aircraft resources to assist and support organizations such as universities, private companies and public institutions.

“Now, a global team of record-setting pilots, renowned meteorologists, aerospace engineers and logistics experts are at the ready to assist other organizations in their efforts to understand how the conditions in the upper layers of our atmosphere impact us and our planet,” said Ed Warnock, chief executive officer, Perlan Project. “With data collection and climate science as one of our missions, the Perlan Project is pleased to join PARTners in this tremendous opportunity.”

Delivering Science from the Stratosphere

PARTners brings innovative resources to organizations for use in research, atmospheric data collection and analysis, delivering reliable, high-altitude data that is unadulterated by an engine. Included in this is the use of the one-of-a-kind science platform, the engineless Perlan 2 space glider, the highest-flying, wing-borne, crewed, subsonic aircraft in history. In September of 2018, it set a world altitude record soaring past 76,000 feet in stratospheric mountain waves on Airbus Perlan Mission II.

“The Perlan project and its affiliates continue to be inspiration for our own aviation goals. We’re very proud to be a member of this pioneering group and look forward to the further breakthroughs that it undoubtedly will bring,” adds Gary Pundsack, chief executive officer, Stratodynamics Aviation Inc.

Additional PARTners resources include:

  • AV Expert’s Grob G-520 Egrett – one of the world’s rare, largest fully composite manned aircraft with extremely high-aspect ratio wings. AV Expert LLC holds the record for the highest aerotow reaching an altitude of 47,100 feet;
  • Stratodynamics Aviation Inc’s HiDRON radio-controlled, high-altitude semi-autonomous glider which holds the altitude record for autonomous flight through Class A airspace at 34km (111,549 Feet); and,
  • Atmospheric data collection and analysis from WeatherExtreme, Ltd., including stratospheric wave modelling and atmospheric/climate data collection during environmental events such as severe weather, tornadoes, hurricanes and polar vortex events.

To learn more about PARTners and its services, please contact Ed Warnock, Perlan Project,, 503-520-1155.

Download the PARTners brochure here.

PRESS RELEASE – 25 August, 2020

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. to develop Suborbital Space Plane with Canadian Space Agency funding and in Collaboration with the University of Waterloo

Stratodynamics is pleased to announce they’ve been awarded funding from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to pioneer development of the HiDRON Suborbital (SO) Space Plane. The HiDRON SO is the next iteration of the company’s record setting unmanned stratospheric glider. The Canadian Space Agency’s Space Technology Development Program supports the development of innovative technologies with strong commercial potential.

The new HiDRON SO furthers the company’s commitment to low cost access to the stratosphere with a balloon-launched, remotely piloted aircraft. The new design will offer clients a larger payload bay and an increased 6kg capacity. With leading experts from the University of Waterloo, the airframe design and communications will optimize aerodynamic and telemetry performance in near-space, a region of rarefied, cold temperature atmosphere.

Over the last 2 years, Stratodynamics has made significant progress in providing cost effective access to stratospheric altitudes while enabling easy recovery of client payloads with the HiDRON. The company provides a full suite of services: provides aerial platforms, integrates payloads with the airframe and avionics, obtains flight approvals, and operates the flight campaigns.

Stratodynamics CEO, Gary Pundsack brings his glider pilot experience to this exciting collaboration adding, “We are delighted to engage our efficient airframe design concepts with leading fluid dynamics and wireless experts at the University of Waterloo to pioneer technology that crosses over from aviation to aerospace.”

“I am excited about collaborating with Stratodynamics and the Canadian Space Agency on developing the next generation gliders for earth observation. With many novel aspects planned for this project, I trust that the outcomes will have long lasting benefits to the broader Canadian space sector.”

Prof. George Shaker, Director, Wireless Sensors and Devices Lab, University of Waterloo

“This project will push the boundaries of controlled glider flight to suborbital elevations, which presents unique challenges in aerodynamics. Our team is excited to embark on this collaborative research with Stratodynamics and the Canadian Space Agency that will both advance the state of the art in stratospheric flight and provide solutions for efficient high-altitude data collection and observation.”

Prof. Serhiy Yarusevych, Fluid Mechanics Research Laboratory, University of Waterloo

Canadian Space Heritage

In 2019, Stratodynamics set multiple aviation records in participation with the Canadian Space Agency’s STRATOS 2019 program. The HiDRON was lifted by the CSA’s scientific gondola at the Timmins Stratospheric Balloon Base to an altitude of 34km, released and autonomously guided to Iroquois Falls municipal airport, 79 km northwest of Timmins. The Slovak Academy of Science’s Institute for Experimental Physics, Stratodynamics’ client for the mission, remotely monitored the validation flight of their experimental, single pixel airglow detector bound for permanent deployment aboard a 2022 JEM-EUSO mission. The HiDRON’s autopilot architects from UAVOS also collaborated on the project’s historic success:

  • Highest altitude flight of a UAV or Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) in Canada
  • First UAV above 29,000 feet in Class A airspace in Canada
  • First release of a UAV from a scientific gondola in Canada

The Future of Flight

The International Council on Clean Transportation states, “CO2 emissions from all commercial operations in 2018 totaled 918 million metric tons – 2.4% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use.” By furthering the HiDRON energy harnessing concept and it’s supporting low emission technologies, Stratodynamics is advancing flight concepts without the use of fossil fuel.

The HiDRON SO program affirms the company’s commitment to innovation and collaborating with technology developers towards breakthrough discoveries that enable low-cost access to stratosphere for the earth observation sector.

More from the Canadian Space Agency!

PRESS RELEASE – June 24, 2020

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organization and Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. Sign a Memorandum of Understanding

Scientists at the world’s premiere low-frequency telescope known as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. to investigate high resolution calibration of the array with the HiDRON™ unmanned stratospheric glider.

When completed, the SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope designed to answer fundamental questions about the origin and evolution of the universe.

In the project’s initial phase, the telescope is set to have 130,000 low-frequency antennas and at peak performance will generate around 550 gigabytes of data per second (200,000 trillion calculations per second). Its unique configuration will give the SKA unrivalled scope in observations, largely exceeding the image resolution quality of the Hubble Space Telescope. Currently, the SKA is in the second construction phase in Western Australia and on track to be fully functioning by the mid 2020’s with a second array planned for construction in South Africa’s Karoo region.

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. has established itself as a world leader in the Earth Observation sector with their remotely deployed, customizable UAV platforms and services. The proposed high transit flight campaign offers the SKA an ideal calibration platform for repeated exercises from the edge of the stratosphere and is designed to validate the electromagnetic numerical models being used to predict the antennas’ behaviour in the field.

Hundreds of thousands and eventually up to a million low-frequency antennas will be located in Western Australia.

The HiDRON meets the challenges presented by the SKA, located in hard to reach Australian desert terrain by offering a uniform high altitude flight profile with a wide field of view and high spatial awareness. The HiDRON’s unique flight capability allows both, the centre and the lobes of the array to receive continuous wave radio-frequency signals at an acceptable angle and within a single flight, highlighting the HiDRON’s unique place in the Earth Observation sector.

This collaboration promises to build on the company’s Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight capabilities as they continue to set aviation records (~111,400 feet) and forge new, cost-effective access to near space altitudes.

“The SKA project needs leading technologies from disciplines far outside normal astronomy to achieve its scientific objectives, and we look forward to exploring the improvements in accuracy that the Stratodynamics’ airborne platform can provide to our calibration measurements.” – Dr. Mark Waterson, Engineering Domain Specialist, SKA

“We’re extremely pleased and excited at the possibility of contributing to this global project involving 11 countries and advancing research technology. The SKA project embodies the very spirit of human pioneering and exploration”, says Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. CEO, Gary Pundsack.

Stratodynamics US Affiliate to Participate in NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program

NASA recently selected 25 space technologies for flight tests onboard aircraft, high-altitude balloons and suborbital rockets. Stratodynamics Inc. is the flight provider for the University of Kentucky project to assess new methods of turbulence detection with forward sensing technologies in stratospheric flight. Currently, significant gaps exist in the detection of turbulence, impacting suborbital vehicles and aviation in general.

The flight campaign will utilize Stratodynamics’ HiDRON™, an unmanned glider that’s balloon launched to stratospheric altitudes. Once released from the balloon, the HiDRON will fly semi-autonomously and return home in a controlled descent while collecting and transmitting 200 points of data in real-time to the ground station.

During the Canadian Space Agency’s stratospheric balloon 2019 campaign, Stratodynamics completed a record-setting flight reaching an altitude over 110,000 feet. The flight was a first for unmanned aircraft operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) and above 29,000 feet in Class A airspace. With the support of their collaborators at UAVOS, the campaign demonstrated the company’s ability to customize a solution for their client, the Slovak Academy of Science.

“With vibrant and growing interest in exploration and commercial space across the country, our goal with these selections is to support innovators from industry and academia who are using rapid and affordable commercial opportunities to test their technologies in space,” said Christopher Baker, program executive for Flight Opportunities at NASA Headquarters, in the news release, NASA Selects 25 Promising Space Technologies for Commercial Flight Tests.

“These suborbital flights enable researchers to quickly and iteratively test technologies with the opportunity to make adjustments between flights,” Baker said. “The ultimate goal is to change the pace of technology development and drastically shorten the time it takes to bring an idea from the lab to orbit or to the moon”.

NASA said this year’s awards total nearly $10 million. Other flight providers in this cohort include the Blue Origin New Shepard suborbital rocket and Virgin Galactic suborbital spacecraft.

Dr. Sean Bailey, principle investigator with the University of Kentucky, is “excited to work with Stratodynamics on this project.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about a rarely explored region of the atmosphere.”

CEO, Gary Pundsack
“This NASA announcement acknowledges Stratodynamics’ position at the frontier of stratospheric exploration. Moreover, the project brings together key interests for us; high altitude flight dynamics, efficient airframes, and turbulence sensing and response. We’re pleased to be collaborating again with our colleagues at the University of Kentucky in the exploration of turbulence and are anticipating a host of commercial outcomes from this series of technology advancement exercises.”

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. sets new Canadian records for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight from over 111,400 feet altitude with the HiDRON stratospheric glider

The HiDRON moments before lift-off at the Canadian Space Agency’s STRATOS Balloon Base in Timmins, Ontario

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. in collaboration with UAVOS, are excited to announce their latest successful record-setting stratospheric flight. The stratospheric glider named the HiDRON™ was released from a Canadian Space Agency scientific gondola at an altitude of 111,434 feet (33.9 km) and performed a four hour controlled flight and landed at Iroquois Falls Airport about 80 km from the Timmins, Ontario launch site.

The night flight demonstrated the HiDRON’s beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities and was supported by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the French Space Agency (CNES) as part of the 2019 Strato-Science Balloon campaign at the balloon base in Timmins, Ontario.

The record setting flight achieved many firsts in Canadian Aviation:

  • Highest altitude flight of a UAV or Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS). RPAS is the name used by Transport Canada to encompass UAVs.
  • First UAV above 29,000 feet in Class A airspace.
  • First release of a UAV from a scientific gondola in Canada.

A Pioneering International Collaboration

The record setting flight is the culmination of 12 months of international collaboration and planning with colleagues in Canada, Belarus and Slovakia and was the second of two flights commissioned to test AMON Airglow detector from Stratodynamics’ client, the Institute of Experimental Physics at the Slovak Academy of Science. The Slovakian team, lead by Pavol Bobik, was searching for a cost-effective method for the AMON detector to have a clear view upwards unencumbered by a weather balloon blocking the view. The AMON detector is planned to participate in EUSO-SPB2 mission that will fly on a long duration NASA balloon in 2022.


The HiDRON release from the CSA gondola is another first for STRATODYNAMICS, as previous launches have been by weather balloons, and added new layers of complexity. Prior to the launch, the Stratodynamics and UAVOS teams advanced aspects of the HiDRON including the transponder, stratospheric flight controls, data links, and safety protocols. The HiDRON features UAVOS’ autopilot AP 10.3 Micro.

The HiDRON was launched from the Timmins Victor M. Power Airport via the CSA scientific gondola at 10 pm on Saturday, August 31st. The mission plan was to release the HiDRON from the gondola sometime between an altitude of 30 km altitude and the target ceiling altitude of 37 km (121,000 feet). Once released the HiDRON would follow a pre-set flight plan and land at Iroquois Falls Airport. This meant the team was onsite at the Timmins airport until the gondola’s lift-off from the CSA Balloon Base. At approximately 10:40 pm, the crew then packed up the ground station and drove about 80 km to the Iroquois Fall Municipal Airport and re-established the ground station while the HiDRON was still on the gondola. The Iroquois Falls Cadet Flying site, associated with the Canadian Forces Base Trenton graciously provided facilities for the the ground station to initiate the HiDRON release, remotely monitor and adjust the flight plan, and complete landing operations. As the gondola rose to its float altitude, the HiDRON was released at around 12:30 am on September 1st at an altitude of 111,400 feet. The HiDRON performed well in difficult headwinds and -60° C stratospheric conditions with its AMON detector recording single pixel data in a near-moonless night sky.

STRATODYNAMICS was issued a Special Flights Operation Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada and a Flight Authorization from NAV Canada as the HiDRON UAV glider would be flying semi-autonomously, beyond visual line of sight, and in controlled airspace. This campaign was part of a BVLOS demonstration project under the LOOKNorth program and STRATODYNAMICS thankfully acknowledges funding contributions from C-CORE, the program’s host organization.

STRATODYNAMICS CEO, Gary Pundsack puts the finishing touches on the dual redundant release mechanism

Gary Pundsack, CEO Stratodynamics Aviation Inc.:

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this pioneering flight in Canadian Aviation, and the spirit of collaboration that enabled this successful campaign. Special thanks goes to our colleagues at Transport Canada and NAV Canada who provided considerable efforts to enable these firsts in Canadian Aviation. The Canadian Space Agency and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales also provided great support and assistance. And thanks to the Iroquois Falls Cadet Flying site who graciously provided use of their facilities.

The September 1st flight once again confirmed the STRATODYNAMICS’ capability to perform high-altitude missions and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations and set a new operational best for the HiDRON’s flight in challenging stratospheric environment.”

Dr. Pavol Bobik, scientist at the Slovak Academy of Science:

We appreciate the flexibility, excellent customer support, professionalism and willingness of Stratodynamics during our campaign”. 

Aliaksei Stratsilatau, CEO, UAVOS:

“HiDRON is a real solution that advances the important research around climate change and other atmospheric chemistry problems. The HiDRON provides solutions for tough problems that affect all of humankind, which is why it is such a necessary platform for researchers.”

STRATODYNAMICS CEO, Gary Pundsack and UAVOS CEO, Aliaksei Stratsilatau go through final systems check minutes before launch 
Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.









MORE. . .


Stratodynamics provides earth observation platforms and services. Platforms are unmanned aerial vehicles that carry in-situ measurement instruments. In addition to operating our platforms, services include instrument integration, campaign coordination, and data collection and assessment.

STRATODYNAMICS is currently developing their series B HiDRON to accommodate a 5 kg in-situ and observation payloads.



UAVOS Inc. is a globally operating company with its offices the Silicon Valley, Switzerland, and Hong Kong offering proprietary unmanned aerial, ground and surface solutions with applications in commercial, industrial and defence markets. We specialize in the design, development and manufacturing of unmanned vehicles and autopilot systems as well as components such as servo drives, pan-tilt platforms, rescue/emergency landing systems. Our solutions range from small industrial surveillance drones to large UAVs.

Background on AMON Airglow Detection

The upper atmosphere of the Earth is continuously ionized by solar radiation with short wavelengths, solar energetic particles and cosmic rays. These processes can lead to production of faint light that is commonly known as airglow. The airglow can be effectively observed by ground-based detectors during the night time while the direct sunlight is absent. The variation of airglow intensity in dependency to geographical position, time, solar cycle, geomagnetic activity and changes in the Earth’s atmosphere is detected but still not well understood. Furthermore, night sky diffused light with contribution of starlight and zodiacal light affects background detections of Extensive Air Shower (EAS) events. The estimation of absolute intensity of this background is essential for evaluation of EAS energy of events with low statistics i.e. events produced by interactions of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) in Earth’s atmosphere.

The AMON detector was tested during several observation campaigns on Lomnicky peak Observatory (Slovakia), on El Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory La Palma (Spain) and on Observatorio Astronomico Nacional de San Pedro Martir, Baja California (Mexico) during years 2015 -2018. The collaboration with Stratodynamics is a first for testing this new AMON design in a high-altitude operational environment.

HiDRON Stratospheric Glider UAS Reaches New 30km Height with Experimental Payload from the Slovak Academy of Science

The HiDRON softly lands in a field of clover after a 4 hour controlled descent     

Stratodynamics and UAVOS are excited to announce their pioneering flight of the HiDRON™ stratospheric glider. The HiDRON successfully reached a new altitude of 30 km (98,450 feet) breaking their previous 25km record. The flight demonstrated the team’s capability to perform beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations with a UAV at high altitudes.

The August 2nd night flight was the first of two flights commissioned  to test a new AMON Airglow detector from Stratodynamics client, the  Slovak Academy of Sciences Institute of Experimental Physics.

This international collaboration is the culmination of 7 months of planning between Stratodynamics and lead physicists, Pavol Bobik, Simon Mackovjak, and UAV pioneer, UAVOS. The Slovakian team was searching for a cost effective method to allow the AMON Airglow detector to have a clear view of the zenith and the nadir while unencumbered by a weather balloon. The AMON is planned to be an ancillary instrument for EUSO-SPB2 (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) mission that will fly on a long duration NASA balloon flight in 2022.

The HiDRON offered the perfect solution for the campaign as it’s programmable flight path back enabled an unobstructed view upwards from the stratosphere, and returned the valuable instrument back to the launch location.

All went according to plan with the UAVOS ground crew in the early hours of Thursday August 2nd as the HiDRON was lifted by balloon to the 30km target altitude and released in -60° C (-76° F) stratospheric winds. Despite the harsh environment, the HiDRON performed well with real time data transmitting to the ground station during the 4 hour controlled descent.

In addition to the AMON detector, Stratodynamics and UAVOS used the flight opportunity to test and advance aspects of the HiDRON design including stratospheric flight dynamics, data links, and UAVOS’ Micro Version AP10.3 auto-pilot.

STRATODYNAMICS acknowledges funding contributions from LOOKNorth to demonstrate BVLOS technology for unmanned systems.

A second AMON flight is scheduled for August 31 from the Canadian Space Agency’s STRATOS Balloon Base in Timmins, Ontario. This time the glider will be released from the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) scientific gondola at an altitude of 35 km, a new milestone for the HiDRON. The data collected during Timmins flight in 2019 will be used for comparison with the results from EUSO-Balloon mission that operated in the same region in 2014. This campaign represents a first in North America for a stratospheric glider releasing from a scientific gondola.

Gary Pundsack, CEO Stratodynamics Aviation Inc.:

“We are extremely pleased with the performance and outcome of this recent 30 km milestone. Stratodynamics has proven to be a valuable partner with the Slovak Academy’s investigations into nighttime airglow. Our unique method of collecting high-quality large datasets from hard to reach locations offers clients new, cost effective access to stratospheric altitudes. We look forward to the follow up launch with our collaborators at the Canadian Space Agency.”

PI, Dr. Pavol Bobik, scientist at Slovak Academy of Science:

We appreciate flexibility, excellent customer support, professionalism and willingness of Stratodynamics during our campaign”.

UAVOS Board Member and CEO Aliaksei Stratsilatau:

“HiDRON is a real solution to advance the important research around climate change and other atmospheric chemistry problems. The HiDRON provides solutions for tough problems that affect all of humankind, which is why it is such a necessary platform for researchers.”


UAVOS Inc., is a global company with offices in Hong Kong, the United States and Europe and has recently raised a round of private financing to further advance its R&D efforts, reduce the go-to-market time for new solutions and also focus on promotion and commercialization. UAVOS works directly with a number of large customers in different market segments. Among UAVOS’ advanced ready-for-commercialization unmanned technologies are unique High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) ApusDuo and a multiplatform autopilot solution for converting manned vehicles of all types into unmanned, and unmanned aerial vehicles aimed to counteract systems of electronic warfare

Background on AMON Airglow Detection

Ground-based version of AMON

The upper atmosphere of the Earth is continuously ionized by solar radiation with short wavelengths, solar energetic particles and cosmic rays. These processes can lead to production of faint light that is commonly known as airglow. The airglow can be effectively observed by ground-based detectors during the night time while the direct sunlight is absent. The variation of airglow intensity in dependency to geographical position, time, solar cycle, geomagnetic activity and changes in the Earth’s atmosphere is detected but still not well understood. Furthermore, night sky diffused light with contribution of starlight and zodiacal light affects background detections of Extensive Air Shower (EAS) events. The estimation of absolute intensity of this background is essential for evaluation of EAS energy of events with low statistics i.e. events produced by interactions of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) in Earth’s atmosphere.

The AMON detector was tested during several observation campaigns on Lomnicky peak Observatory (Slovakia), on El Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory La Palma (Spain) and on Observatorio Astronomico Nacional de San Pedro Martir, Baja California (Mexico) during years 2015 -2018. The collaboration with Stratodynamics is a first for testing this new AMON design in an operational environment.

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.

PRESS RELEASE – June 27, 2019
STRATODYNAMICS find synergy with Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration at Western University

Dr. Gordon Osinski and STRATODYNAMICS CEO, Gary Pundsack

STRATODYNAMICS recently met with Dr. Gordon Osinski, director of Western’s Ontario’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration to discuss possible partnerships utilizing Stratodynamics’ HiDRON platforms and services. Top of mind is mapping Canada’s remote Axel Heiberg Island using LiDAR mounted on a UAV. Other discussions included collaborative grant applications to the Canadian Space Agency as well as Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). A particular highlight of the meeting was a presentation made by the student-led high altitude balloon group who are auditioning a new method of aerosol particulate collection and retrieval from stratospheric altitudes.

Dr. Osinski’s commitment to planetary exploration has put him at the top of his field, regularly called upon to school future astronauts in geology at NASA Goddard flight centre in DC.

Dr. Osinsky said, “if you introduce new parameters to the platform, I can think of a dozen ways to utilize them […] It was exciting to host Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. here at the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration. We see lots of potential areas for collaboration on high altitude balloon flights”.

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.

STRATODYNAMICS Receives Funding from LOOKNorth/Unmanned Systems Canada to Advance BVLOS Projects

LOOKNorth and Unmanned Systems Canada are working together to support a national cluster of industry and academic partners in advancing the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) industry in Canada. The partnership aims to accelerate commercialization of RPAS Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations and the regulatory environment.

Activities undertaken to date include a study for Transport Canada highlighting the significant annual sales forecasts due to the impact of BVLOS on Canadian small to medium enterprises, a series of workshops to advance a national strategy for enabling BVLOS, the development of a national testbed system to support BVLOS trials and risk assessments, and the support of 28 projects valued at $10M through an investment of $2.4M by LOOKNorth.

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. was chosen to run BVLOS campaigns with their unique unmanned stratospheric glider called the HiDRON™. The HiDRON™ collects in-situ stratospheric data with an onboard sensor package and avionics, transmitting 200 data points to a manned ground station in real-time. This unique stratospheric glider was brought to market with the assistance of their strategic collaborator, UAVOS who’s cutting edge autopilot (micro version AP10.3) continues to break new ground in the unmanned market.

As part of this campaign, Stratodynamics and UAVOS will integrate a scientific payload in collaboration with the Slovak Academy of Science, Department of Experimental Physics and release it from a scientific gondola with the support of the Canadian Space Agency. The HiDRON will be released at a target altitude of 36km, take measurements and fly back home teamed with an operator at the ground station.

Project results will support the development of the BVLOS regulatory environment in Canada and beyond.

“We’re very pleased to partner with Unmanned Systems Canada and our project collaborators UAVOS in advancing BVLOS operations in Canada. This represents a significant milestone in the evolution of Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. and we’re excited to be contributing to the development of flight regulations, both in Canada and abroad”, said Stratodynamics CEO Gary Pundsack.

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.


STRATODYNAMICS Mentors University of Waterloo 4th Year Mechanical Engineering Capstone Project

L to R, STRATODYNAMICS CEO, Gary Pundsack and U of W team members Simon Grigg, Eugene Lin, Vrajesh Bhavsar and Andrew Pundsack

STRATODYNAMICS recently undertook a mentoring role with a four-member University of Waterloo Mechanical Engineering team to provide the challenge for their culminating forth year design project. Capstone Design provides Waterloo Engineering students with the unique opportunity to conceptualize and design a project related to their chosen discipline.

The 2 term (8 month) project goal was to design, build and test a prototype for the next iteration of the HiDRON™ stratospheric glider. The project focused on designing a lightweight airframe capable of carrying a 1 kg customized payload, and could handle the stresses of a drop from 100,000 feet. The glider was fully designed in Solidworks. Major components were then CNC machined and assembled by hand.

“The project was engaging, challenging and overall a great learning experience. The group developed a number of new skills, learned significantly about the difficulties of stratospheric flight and successfully presented a full sized prototype of a high altitude glider to the public. We’re very grateful to Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. for providing us with the fascinating idea for our fourth year capstone project and for their generous support and guidance.”, said Capstone Design team member, Andrew Pundsack

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.


HiDRON Successfully Reaches Target Altitude of 25km and Returns Instruments Home

The HiDRON preparing to launch December 16, 2018

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. in collaboration with UAVOS Inc. have successfully completed the next stage of flights tests of the earth observation platform called the HiDRON™ to an altitude of 25 km (82,000 ft).

The HiDRON also carried atmospheric measurement system onboard in a collaboration with researchers from the University of Kentucky. The night-time flight lasted 4 hours, including the one-hour weather balloon launch period with an average climb rate at 6.8 m/s (22 ft./s). At release altitude the HiDRON was 36 km (22 mi.) away from the launch site where it headed home and was above launch area at an altitude of 18 km (59,000 ft.). The HiDRON then glided near the home position with a descent rate much slower than a comparable parachute-borne instrument. The return flight home lasted about 3 hours.

According to the mission team, the HiDRON stratospheric aircraft performed well in standard operational modes and in challenging BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) conditions. It operated in headwinds up to 180 km/h (112 mph), -60° C (-76° F) temperatures, experienced wing icing and reliably returned home and landed autonomously.

The HiDRON’s flight stabilization after balloon release and tuning the UAV controls and components for stratospheric flight were main objectives of the mission. During the flight, operators also checked the performance of the HiDRON’s avionic systems, flight characteristics, safety features, instrument integration, and auxiliary tracking systems including a transponder.

The HiDRON’s payload measured and collected meteorological data and the atmospheric instruments were integrated with the autopilot telemetry and the sensors custom fitted to the aircraft.  Data was collected at the ground station in real-time and compiled with the flight records. The instrument integration was also evaluated. While areas for further refinement were identified, the HiDRON and onboard measurement system performed well and demonstrated operability in high winds, cold temperatures, and low air density conditions.   The obtained performance data will be used for the next stage of testing at an altitude of 30 km (98,000 ft.).

View the peer reviewed white paper published in Sensors HERE.


The high-altitude flight was conducted in collaboration with the regional Air Traffic Control Agency. The night-time flight was preferred to minimize impact on commercial air traffic. The HiDRON passed through commercial airspace twice, on the ascent and descent, and an adjustment to civilian aircraft routes was made during flight window. A backup UAVOS live-linked ground station and operator were stationed at the Air Traffic Control center, (multiple ground control stations can be synchronized from different locations). This enabled the mission team and air traffic control staff to track the aircraft’s position from the ground station and onboard transponder. Air traffic control staff indicated the transponder was sufficient for subsequent flights.

Gary Pundsack, Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. Founder CEO:

“The HiDRON performed well in challenging winter winds and night conditions. At the 25km launch altitude, the HiDRON travelled 36 km from home. The return glide was controlled and, at an altitude of 18 km, the HiDRON was above the home position where it loitered in a slow descent down.  Even with a build-up of ice on the wings, from passing through low-level clouds, the HiDRON landed autonomously. The test demonstrated the HiDRON’s aerodynamic capabilities and avionic system reliability.”    

Aliaksei Stratsilatau, UAVOS Lead autopilot developer:

“We also undertook studies of the descending wind stream structure in the stratosphere to increase the duration of the HiDRON flight. In addition, our specialists developed a control and tracking system for an unmanned aircraft in real conditions within commercial air traffic space, which confirms the project’s readiness for commercial use.”

How it works?

The HiDRON is a fixed wing glider integrated with meteorological equipment and launched by a stratospheric weather balloon filled with helium. With 3.4 m wingspan, the Series A HiDRON weighs under 5 kg and is capable of carrying an in-situ measurement instrument weighing up to 1 kg. Data from the integrated instrument is transmitted via telemetry immediately and during the ascent into the stratosphere to a ground station, (much like a typical weather radiosonde). After reaching an altitude of 25 km, set by the ground station operator, the HiDRON disconnects from the balloon and glides back to the specified landing site. Changes to the flight plan can be made by the operator in real-time. To increase the flight duration, algorithms automatically process efficient flight controls to maintain optimal energy. Aircraft landing is fully automatic.

All operational parameters are transmitted via radio telemetry with a range of 100 km (66 mi.). An iridium satellite link provides a back-up communication system. Other safety features include a deployable parachute and a dual redundant balloon release system.

Stratodynamics would like to thank En Sci Environmental Science, InterMet, TruWeather Solutions and TempoQuest for their support of this project.

MORE . . .

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.


6km Altitude Launch a Success!

The HiDRON in-situ earth observation platform

Stratodynamics Aviation Inc has carried out the company’s inaugural test launch the HiDRON™, a stratospheric aircraft for collecting high-altitude atmospheric data. The first flight lasted 1.5 hours and reached an altitude of 6000 m. The HiDRON’s vertical speed averaged 2 m/s down during the return flight, much slower than typical payload parachutes at 4 m/s or higher. The test program included; proving the stability of the communication commands of the primary radio link and the backup Iridium satellite system; stabilization and controllability of the aircraft after the balloon was released; testing of the balloon release systems; and monitoring the influence of icing conditions on the UAV controls.

During the flight, and with real-time monitoring of the telemetry data, the autopilot parameters were adjusted to ensure the safe execution of various flight modes. The development team designed two balloon release systems to ensure redundancy. The release system provides a controlled release of the HiDRON from the balloon at the targeted altitude, and can also be deployed to mitigate icing risk, for example when passing through cloud layers at low altitudes.

The HiDRON has a wing span of 3.4 m. The current maximum take-off weight is 4.5 kg with an integrated payload of 1 kg. Further development plans to increase the payload weight and integration with target vertical speeds of 3 – 4 m/s on the ascent and 3 m/s or lower on the descent, depending on the altitude.

The HiDRON returning home autonomously in a controlled descent

Gary Pundsack, CEO Stratodynamics Aviation Inc.:
“The HiDRON is a unique balloon-launched unmanned glider for collecting in-situ high-altitude atmospheric data, and capable of autonomous and soaring flight modes. We are pleased with the flight test results and the HiDRON’s agility to return home from 12 km away and a 6 km altitude. The HiDRON provides a new dynamic method for measuring and evaluating atmospheric phenomena at various altitudes in a variety of geographical locations. Stratodynamics offers an alternative to current lift-and-drift single-use meteorological balloon campaigns which, traditionally, pose a high probability of losing equipment, as well as limitations in quality and quantity of the observed data.”

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.

Special thanks to Inspired Graphics & Design Centre, Guelph, Ontario


STRATODYNAMICS Prepares to Launch the HiDRON

STRATODYNAMICS is finalizing preparations for the launch of their stratospheric aircraft, the HiDRON™.  The HiDRON is a unique balloon-launched unmanned glider capable of autonomous and soaring flight modes, and designed for collecting high-altitude atmospheric data. It will take flight this November with the help of their UAV component supplier, UAVOS Inc.

The key objective of the HiDRON is to provide a new, dynamic method for measuring and evaluating atmospheric phenomena at various altitudes in a variety of geographical locations. The November 5th campaign plan targets a 25 km altitude (82,000 feet) and carries an atmospheric sensor system developed by Dr. Marcelo I. Guzman and T.J. Schuyler from the University of Kentucky. Their study aims to demonstrate how to perform accurate measurements of ozone chemical and physical properties using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The stratospheric ozone layer plays a key role in protecting the Earth surface from damaging UV radiation.

The HiDRON fills a gap in current balloon-based lift and drift earth observation methods.

The HiDRON is launched to the stratosphere via a helium-filled balloon. Once launched, the autopilot and integrated atmospheric measurement system transmit data in real-time to a ground station. After reaching the desired altitude (or as directed by an operator on the ground) the HiDRON is released from the balloon and glides back to a pre-specified landing site. Unique autopilot flight algorithms can process in-situ data such as thermal or wave conditions, to increase flight duration or focus the flight path to specific areas.

Landing the HiDRON is fully automatic. The autopilot selects one of the pre-specified landing sites as the HiDRON communication to the ground station is maintained via the telemetry system and backup satellite link.  In addition, emergency flight modes ensure flight safety.

Currently, atmospheric measurement equipment is also lifted to high altitudes by balloons. However, once the balloon bursts the equipment descends quickly by parachute and drifts uncontrolled. Often the equipment is lost or damaged and has high retrieval costs. The HiDRON extends the data collection period on the descent and brings the equipment back.

Gary Pundsack, CEO Stratodynamics Aviation Inc.:

“Stratodynamics is very excited to explore this frontier with the UAVOS team. The HiDRON provides a new dynamic platform for upper air observations and in-situ sampling at a fraction of the cost of typical high-altitude platforms.  We look forward to further developing the aircraft and avionics to harness naturally occurring phenomena that create lift and extend flight duration, reduce costs, power requirements, and weight. We’re excited to be collaborating with the University of Kentucky and contributing to the understanding of climate change and its causes.”

Vadim Tarasov, UAVOS investor and Board member:

“Experience in stratospheric flights and professional UAVOS autopilot technology allow our partners to implement sufficiently elaborate automation algorithms for meteorological research. The essence of this project is to develop a fully controlled process – from the moment of take-off, execution of the mission, and the landing of a reusable atmospheric sensor system. The HiDRON will be able to perform longer missions with a wide range of research tasks without the risk of losing expensive equipment. The fully controlled HiDRON will allow the adjustment of the mission and interaction with the ground air traffic control services from the lift-off to landing, which is very important taking into account the increased air traffic in all echelons.”

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.

PRESS RELEASE – September 18, 2018

STRATODYNAMICS Find Strategic Collaborator in Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency (CSA) systems engineer, Sebastien Lafrance and Stratodynamics CEO, Gary Pundsack with the ‘Species’ campaign in the background

STRATODYNAMICS was recently invited on a tour of the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) balloon launch facility in Timmins, Ontario. The facility has been shortlisted as a North American launch location for the company’s re-deployable glider sensor platform called the HiDRON.

In the hours between 1 and 4am on August the 16th, CEO, Gary Pundsack and Business Development Lead, Nick Craine witnessed the collaborative launch between the Canadian Space Agency and the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES).

As the early morning mist began crawling across the tarmac, the 800 kg payload was successfully lifted by a zero pressure high-altitude helium filled balloon. Climbing at a rate of 6 metres per second, the balloon and its scientific payload rose more than 27,000 feet before the sun came over the horizon.

The STRATODYNAMICS team is evaluating several balloon launch sites for campaigns beginning in 2019. Other launch sites of interest include USA, Europe and South America.


Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.

Press release – August 12, 2018

Stratodynamics Exhibits at ISARRA

HiDRON Announce merged

This past July, Stratodynamics sponsored the 2018 ISARRA conference
hosted by the University of Colorado. ISARRA is the International Society for Atmospheric Research using Remotely Piloted Aircraft. It’s goal: to support knowledge exchange within the science community on the use of RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) for atmospheric and environmental research through meetings, web site and mutual support.

At the Stratodynamics exhibit, CEO Gary Pundsack introduced the HiDRON™ platform for atmospheric research to key members of the science community ranging from Taiwan to Norway. The company received fantastic feedback on applications for the HiDRON platform.

The company is now in talks with 2 American research teams to launch their atmospheric sensor payloads using the HiDRON retrievable balloon launched platform. 

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.

Press Release – MAY, 2018

STRATODYNAMICS Receives Seed Funding from Innovation Guelph

Guelph Liberal Member of Parliament, Lloyd Longfield and Stratodynamics CEO, Gary Pundsack

The Innovation Guelph Fuel Injection Seed Funding Program has awarded funding to Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. to assist in the next phase of the company’s growth.

CEO Gary Pundsack is excited to break new ground in upper atmospheric exploration with the help of the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

The HiDRON™, a semi-autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) featuring NASA-developed lightweight sensing and control systems for high-altitude weather monitoring and other types of environmental data collection.

The HiDRON glider is designed to operate in the stratosphere providing greater real-time data for more accurate weather forecasts at a lower cost and with 80% less environmental waste than current weather monitoring practices.

Innovation Guelph builds prosperity for community well-being by providing mentorship and business support programs and services. Their business acceleration programs are in southern Ontario. For more information on Innovation Guelph see:

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.


STRATODYNAMICS Named Winner in Global NASA Space Race Competition


STRATODYNAMICS AVIATION INC CEO, Gary Pundsack is proud to announce that the STRATODYNAMICS team are finalists in the NASA Space Race Competition with two separate National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) inventions.

In October, 2015, The White House announced its NASA Initiative to encourage the use of federally funded technologies by start-up companies. NASA in collaboration with Bethesda, Maryland based, Center for Advancing Innovation announced the finalists of the Space Race Challenge today.


Building on CEO, Gary Pundsack’s 15+ years of experience in the renewable energy sector, STRATODYNAMICS will introduce SKYFISH: a compact wind energy kite system for producing electricity designed for the off-grid markets such as South Africa.

The second invention to be licensed to the group is NASA’s sensing and control technology for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s). The technology will be utilized in HiDRON™, an unmanned glider capable of high-altitude climate and atmospheric monitoring. The lightweight glider is a tool for climate change mitigation and daily weather monitoring that significantly lessens environmental impacts of current practices. STRATODYNAMICS was not only a finalist in the UAV category, they were named the over-all winner.

(L to R) Stratodynamics Business Development Lead, Nick Craine; NASA scientist, Qamar A. Shams; STRATODYNAMICS CEO, Gary Pundsack and Langley Branch Head, Ray Rhew at NASA Langley Research Center this past March. The team toured the facility and were given demonstrations of the HiDRON technologies in various prototype stages. photo by Jesse Midgett

Today’s announcement is the culmination of 6 months of research, collaboration and marketing development performing within the rigorous CAI accelerator protocols. STRATODYNAMICS will spend the next few months completing commercial agreements and seeking funding. Commercialization of the lead project is targeted within two years.

For more information on the Space Race Challenge please visit:

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.

Bringing Space Technology Down to Earth
From the April 2017 issue of the University of Guelph alumni publication, PORTICO

Gary Pundsack thinks flying a kite is more than child’s play. It could help provide power to those living in developing countries.

His company, Stratodynamics Aviation Inc., developed two new inventions that harness National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) technology as part of a global Space Race start-up challenge. The U.S. Center for Advancing Innovation held the contest in partnership with NASA to create space technology spinoffs using NASA patents or inventions.

Pundsack’s team was the only Canadian team among the 15 finalists announced last November.

One of the team’s inventions, called Skyfish, is a parafoil kite attached to a generator on the ground that produces energy for off-the-grid markets. More than one billion people worldwide, mostly in developing countries, live without a regular source of power.

“There is a growing market of micro-grid developers who are providing power in places where there is no infrastructure,” says Pundsack, MBA ’12. He also sees potential applications for Skyfish in rural areas.

Skyfish produces 2,000 watts of energy — enough to power about 30 homes. The kite automatically flies in a figure-eight pattern in high-wind areas, pulling on two lines that turn the generator as the lines are extended. Once the kite is fully extended, it is navigated to a low-wind area and the lines are reeled in until the cycle can repeat. A NASA-developed control system steers the kite, and a battery bank stores the energy for immediate or future use.

Another innovation is an unmanned glider called HiDRON™ that provides weather-monitoring data. Traditional weather balloons are launched twice a day from 900 sites worldwide. In the U.S. alone, that’s about 75,000 weather balloons launched annually. “Once the balloon bursts, the equipment (called a radiosonde) parachutes back uncontrolled and about 80 per cent of this equipment is lost,” says Pundsack. If no one finds the equipment, it becomes waste.

Weighing only 500 grams, HiDRON hitches a ride on a weather balloon and glides back to Earth, carrying the weather monitoring equipment so it can be reused. GPS technology allows the glider to be tracked, and also monitors wind speed and direction. “The glider will be able to fly itself back, but maybe over time stay aloft longer by using natural currents that are available,” says Pundsack.

Most weather data such as temperature, barometric pressure and relative humidity is collected by weather balloons with radiosondes as they float up to the stratosphere, as high as 18,000 metres above the Earth. “All of the data collected goes into building our weather forecasts,” he says. “That process hasn’t really changed since the 1930s.”

Pundsack says the technology could be used by national weather agencies and research institutions to monitor the atmosphere and the effects of climate change.

Stratodynamics plans to commercialize both inventions within the next two to three years. “My MBA has been critical for evaluating the commercialization process,” he says. “The technology is fascinating and interesting, but so much of the success is based on developing a viable business model for a market that has growth potential.” –SUSAN BUBAK

Stratodynamics and HiDRON are trademarks of Stratodynamics Aviation Incorporated.