The TAO Group comprises the independent firms TAO Technologies GmbH, TAO Trans Atmospheric Operations GmbH and TAO Neue Antriebstechnologien GmbH (TAO New Propulsion Technologies). The initial TAO businesses were established in 2001 by Prof. Bernd-Helmut Kröplin. Prof. Kröplin was at the time Director of the Institute of Statics and Dynamics of Aerospace Structures (ISD) at the University of Stuttgart. His notable projects include the world’s first solar powered airship, “Lotte”, admitted to the Zeppelin Museum in January 2015, and the development of the High Altitude Platform (HAP) for telecommunications via the stratosphere, for which he was awarded the Körber Prize in 1999. Currently, around 40 engineers, scientists, chemists and constructors are working on, among other things, developing the SkyDragon, an airship providing static telecommunications service from an altitude of some 20 km. The development of high altitude batteries also forms part of this project.