DARPA Vulture Five Year Flying Wing
DARPA's Vulture is yet another of the agency's blue sky programs, this one maybe more than others. Vulture is intended to fly for periods of up to five years unattended at 65,000 feet.
(DARPA Vulture - aircraft with a 5 year flight plan)
Here's what DARPA requested:
The VULTURE Air Vehicle Program is an exploratory development program with the overall goal to develop and demonstrate the ability to deliver and maintain an airborne payload on station for an uninterrupted period exceeding 5 years using a heavier-than-air platform system... The Government is not interested in approaches that use either radioactive energy sources or employs any form of buoyant flight for this application.
...develop technologies and systems which will enable the Military to deliver and maintain a 1000 lb, 5 kW airborne payload for an uninterrupted period exceeding 5 years with a 99+% on station probability.
The intent is that DARPA's Vulture would orbit over a small, well-defined area (like a battlefield) and provide continuous coverage of that area. Vulture is intended to operate in a manner similar to a satellite, except that it has the advantages of not being bound by orbital mechanics. The only satellites that can remain stationary over one spot must orbit at 22,240 miles - and this trick works only along the equator. Low-flying spy satellites scoot quickly over their coverage area. If the Vulture can be accomplished, you would see dramatic increases in sensor resolution and communications capability.
I can't understand why none of the articles I read on this program include references to the amazing Helios program. Helios is a single wing, solar-powered aircraft that has performed admirably above Hawaii in tests performed in 2001.
(Helios above Kauai, Hawaii)
Helios is an ultralight flying wing with 14 electric motors built by AeroVironment Inc. Helios' 247-foot wingspan exceeds that of a Boeing 747. Operating entirely under solar power (including the take-off), Helios reached an altitude just short of 100,000 feet, which broke records for non-rocket powered flight. At that altitude, Helios approached conditions for winged flights in the atmosphere of Mars.
It's not quite the same thing, but both the DARPA Vulture and Helios remind me of the Flying Wing from Triplanetary, the 1934 novel by 'Doc' Smith. the Flying Wing was also able to fly to near-space.
Read more about DARPA pushes limits of unmanned aircraft capability to extremes; via Dvice. See also DARPA Vulture project description. Here's a nice DARPA sfnal project list; also, if you're not familiar with Helios, check out this awesome Helios picture gallery.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/4/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...' - Allan Dean Foster, 2006.
Tesla Autopilot's 40 Percent Crash Reduction
''I hope all those other cars are on automatic,' he said anxiously.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976
Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...' - James Blish, 1957.
Star Wars Speeder Bikes! On Water, By Jetovator
'Hey, wait!' Now, you don't need to say that.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'
Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'
SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'
Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?
Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...
Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'
SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'
How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'
'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.
Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'
Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'
Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?
Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'
DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'
Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.
Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories