A Stratocraft (traditionally referred to as a gondola in historic lighter-than-air platforms) is a tetrahedral structure that hangs below the balloon flight train and contains flight avionics, power systems, and a reconfigurable payload deck utilizing a modular open systems approach (MOSA) for customer payloads. Currently, the Stratocraft can host a total mass of 50kg, provide 250W continuous payload power, and 1000W instantaneous payload power, with planned growth to 100kg and 300W continuous by the end of 2018. At the end of flight, the Stratocraft is separated from the flight train, is remotely guided to a specified ground location, and is able perform a flared landing to minimize landing loads to the Stratocraft. This process not only makes the Stratocraft reusable but minimizes risk of damage to payloads.. The Stratocraft has azimuth pointing capability to maintain the vehicle solar arrays pointing at the sun to maximize the efficiency of the solar array. The vehicle pointing resolution and jitter environment is due to be characterized on future flights.
The Stratollite vehicle was designed to operate nominally between the 42nd parallel north and the 42nd parallel south. The vehicle enables long duration (up to 6 months) missions globally with support for launch and flight operations performed from WV headquarters in Tucson, AZ. It is a sensor agnostic long duration capable flight vehicle with long dwell capability depending on regional and seasonal stratospheric wind conditions that offers a multitude of applications to meet the scientific community needs.