It functions a bit like a satellite, except substantially cheaper and much more versatile.
The largest robot in the AUVSI expo hall last week belonged to Titan Aerospace. It was a model of their Solara 50 robotic atmospheric satellite, and they had to chop off the tail and most of the wings to get it to fit. The Solara is intended to lift a payload to 20,000 meters and then keep it there for five years, running entirely on solar power. It functions a bit like a satellite, except substantially cheaper and much more versatile. And, you can get it back when you’re done.
It’s a little bit hard to tell from the video, but these UAVs are big. The Solara 50 is 15 meters long with a wingspan of 50 meters, and there’s an even larger one called the Solara 60, with a 60-meter wingspan. Despite its size, the Solara 50 only weighs 160 kilograms, and it can carry a 30 kg payload, which is fairly respectable.
What makes the Solara actually functional as an atmospheric satellite are two things. The first is the altitude that it’s designed to fly at: at 20,000 meters, you’re above pretty much everything. You’re looking down on clouds and weather, and the winds and temperatures are generally very stable, or at least predictable. Being that high also gives you a field of view encompassing about 45,000 square kilometers. If you were to, say, mount a cellular base station on a Solara, it would take over for a hundred cell towers on the ground.
The second thing that makes Solara work is that it’s solar powered. Every available surface on the wings and tail are covered in solar panels, and there are batteries inside the wings. During the day, Solara generates kilowatts of power, and there’s enough left over in the batteries to provide hundreds of watts all night.
The Latest Bing News on:
- Roaming Charges: Hour of the Goaton August 27, 2021 at 2:00 am
Curtis LeMay wanted to bomb Vietnam into the Stone Age, "destroying every work of man." HRC wanted to bomb Afghanistan into modernity, destroying every vestige of misogyny. The bombs fell for years ...
- Subsea Europe Services & MARTAC Partner to Advance USV Applicationson August 26, 2021 at 10:58 am
Marine technology specialist Subsea Europe Services and Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) innovator MARTAC have signed an extensive partnership agreement for cooperation on the delivery of unmanned and ...
- Awesome! Fly drones with microwaves - impossible just made possibleon August 24, 2021 at 6:20 am
Yes, scientists are using microwaves to power free-flying drones by shooting microwave power from an antenna on the ground to the drone.
- Exploring New Horizons for Ocean Observationon August 24, 2021 at 4:13 am
As the informed readership of Hydro International knows, the oceans sustain the planet. And, while there are many drivers of the changes to the ...
- Qualcomm Launches First 5G, AI Enabled Drone Programon August 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) unleashed the first ever 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) enabled drone program on Aug. 17. The new Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G Platform offers a variety of industries a ...
- Australia eyes AI, drones, facial recognition tech to protect wild koalason August 22, 2021 at 6:10 am
Researchers are seeking hi-tech solutions to protect koalas against the threats of vehicle collisions and bush fires.
- A microwave-powered rocket? Drone project suggests it may be possibleon August 22, 2021 at 4:35 am
Researchers in Japan are using microwaves to power free-flying drones, a project that could possibly pave the way for a new type of rocket. Currently, most rockets generate thrust by using controlled ...
- A1 Belarus, ZTE Inspect Solar Plant using Autonomous Drone and 5G SA Networkon August 20, 2021 at 12:09 pm
A1 has inspected solar panels at its solar power plant, one of the largest in Belarus, using 5G Standalone (SA) test ...
- An autonomous helicopter drone connected via 5G SA network is running the inspection of the solar plant of A1on August 20, 2021 at 1:35 am
A1 has inspected solar panels at A1’s own solar power plant, one of the largest in Belarus, using 5G Standalone (SA) test network capabilities implemented together with ZTE. During the inspection, an ...
- Israeli drones patrolling oil fields in UAE, infrastructure worldwideon August 18, 2021 at 1:58 am
An Israeli company's autonomous drones are being used worldwide to patrol infrastructure, checking for malfunction and security breaches.
The Latest Google Headlines on:
The Latest Bing News on:
- Can we explore Mars for cheaper? A new satellite mission aims to find outon August 28, 2021 at 10:11 am
One undeniable fact about space exploration is that it isn't cheap. But is there a way to explore Mars for cheaper? A new satellite project will try it out.
- The launch of the Puerto Rico satellite into space has been postponedon August 28, 2021 at 9:48 am
SpaceX’s mission with the Falcon 9 spacecraft, which includes the Puerto Rico Cubonat Nanorox 2 (PR-CuNaR2) satellite, designed and ...
- Space News: 'Blue' and 'Gold' satellites headed to Mars in 2024on August 28, 2021 at 3:05 am
An interplanetary mission led by the University of California, Berkeley, to put two satellites — dubbed "Blue" and "Gold" — into orbit around Mars has been officially authorized to prepare for launch ...
- How Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic space race could impact the atmosphereon August 27, 2021 at 3:32 pm
The Bezos, Branson and Musk space race is leading scientists to try to better understand how rocket exhaust and other elements impact the environment.
- We're launching Australia's first scratch-built satellite, and it's a giant leap towards the moonon August 27, 2021 at 4:00 am
But also on board will be a small satellite that represents a giant leap into space for our research program here in Western Australia. Our satellite, called Binar-1 after the Noongar word for ...
- Satellites Spot Oceans Aglow With Trillions of Organismson August 27, 2021 at 2:00 am
A new generation of detectors let scientists identify a dozen large episodes of bioluminescence, one a hundred times larger than Manhattan — and that’s the smallest.
- New Satellite Imaging Detects the "Milky Seas" of Maritime Loreon August 26, 2021 at 8:48 pm
Kingman, milky seas are a well-known part of maritime folklore. But because of their remote and elusive nature, they are extremely difficult to study and so remain more a part of that folklore than of ...
- NOAA Satellite Video Shows Wildfires Burning In Northern MN; Greenwood Fire Now Covers Nearly 26,000 Acreson August 26, 2021 at 11:52 am
A satellite from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is giving us a good look at the wildfires burning in northern Minnesota. Katie Johnston reports.
- Scientists are using new satellite tech to find glow-in-the-dark milky seas of maritime loreon August 26, 2021 at 10:21 am
The whole appearance of the ocean was like a plain covered with snow. There was scarce a cloud in the heavens, yet the sky … appeared as black as if a storm was raging." ...
- How NASA Satellites Help Model the Future of Climateon August 24, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Continuing key Earth observations is really important to see how our atmosphere, land, and ocean are changing over time. A long-term record, combined with cutting-edge observations from the new NASA ...