An experimental plane powered by solar energy able to transmit internet to the Ground is ready for take-off. The drone, called the Hawk 30, is the product of a partnership closed between Softbank and AeroVironment, an aerospace company american. The joint venture is aimed at offering connectivity, 5G and “internet of things” from the heavens.
A signed agreement between NASA and the two companies in November suggests that the Hawk 30 could take off from the Flight Research Center Armstrong of California at the beginning of this week, reports IEEE Spectrum. The agreement involves a series of test flights of up to approximately 1.86 miles during the next three months.
With a single drone, the Hawk 30 is designed as many of the other drones solar high-flying that AeroVironment has built for NASA in the past two decades. Ten electric engines will carry the drone to an operating altitude of about 12.5 miles, according to documents filed with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Securities and exchange Commission.
AeroVironment began to build aircraft for high altitude and long endurance (HALE) for NASA more than 20 years ago. Since 1997, the program of Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology of the NASA funded three drones with solar energy and fuel cell AeroVironment. That association culminated in the Prototype Helios (top image), a drone lighter than in 2001 rose to an altitude of 18.5 miles, which remains the record for an airplane winged. Two years later, the unmanned aircraft broke up in flight and crashed in the Pacific.
In 2010, a project of the Pentagon, AeroVironment developed another unmanned aircraft called the HALE to transport payloads of surveillance and communications systems. This aircraft also crashed in 2011.
More recently, companies like Google and Facebook have launched aircraft to high altitude with solar power with the promise to transmit the internet to remote regions around the world. However, both companies eventually they scrapped their plans for drones. The parent company of Google, Alphabet, has continued his company with Project Loon, a project to provide internet via high-altitude balloons.
AeroVironment seems to not feel discouraged by your past losses, creating a joint venture called HAPSMobile (HAPS) is the abbreviation of “high-altitude pseudo-satellite”) with Softbank in January 2018. The details of the project remain scarce.
Meanwhile, companies such as Boeing and Airbus, are working to develop their own drones, Internet HALE called Odysseus and Zephyr, respectively.
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