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High Altitude Platforms for Disaster Recovery: Capabilities, Strategies, and Techniques for Emergency Telecommunications

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Natural disasters and terrorist acts have significant potential to disrupt emergency communication systems. These emergency communication networks include first-responder, cellular, landline, and emergency answering services such as 911, 112, or 999. Without these essential emergency communications capabilities, search, rescue, and recovery operations during a catastrophic event will be severely debilitated. High altitude platforms could be fitted with telecommunications equipment and used to support these critical communications missions once the catastrophic event occurs. With the ability to be continuously on station, HAPs provide excellent options for providing emergency coverage over high-risk areas before catastrophic incidents occur. HAPs could also provide enhanced 911 capabilities using either GPS or reference stations. This paper proposes potential emergency communications architecture and presents a method for estimating emergency communications systems traffic patterns for a catastrophic event.

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Correspondence to Juan D Deaton.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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  • Catastrophic Event
  • System Traffic Pattern
  • Publisher Note
  • Communication Capability
  • Disaster Recovery