BBC News reports (August 24, 2008) that an unmanned solar powered plane or UAV has completed a record-setting three days in flight. This test flight is important because it demonstrates that an unmanned solar plane can power up its batteries during the daytime hours and then fly all night long on the stored energy. This would enable the plane, called the Zephyr-6 (and manufactured by the UK firm QinetiQ) to be used to scout out enemy territory very consistently over a long period of time.
Important technologies mentioned in this article:
- Ultra lightweight carbon fiber frame
- Amorphous silicon solar arrays that can be glued to the wings of the plane
- Rechargable lithium-sulphur batteries
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)