Zephyr Solar Plane Sails For Days
The Zephyr solar plane has sailed to a record for sun-powered unmanned flight. The 66-pound craft was aloft for 83 hours and 7 minutes. The plane makes use of ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber to save on weight. It flies on solar power generated by paper-thin silicon solar arrays on its wings.
(Zephyr solar plane takes off)
The Zephyr solar-powered plane is able to fly autonomously, using GPS to keep on track. Launched by hand, Zephyr charges its batteries during the day for night flying. Initially, the plane was flown remotely to an altitude of 60,000 feet; the plane was able to fly by itself for the remaining time.
Other solar-powered surveillance planes are under development, like the amazing Helios craft that has already flown a number of successful test flights (with terrific screensavers available) and the planned DARPA Vulture Five Year Flying Wing. The "five years" part refers to the length of proposed continuous flight time.
Zephyr itself is the result of a collaboration betweent the UK-based company QinetiQ Group PLC and the U.S. military's DARPA.
Science fiction readers find themselves unsurprised by these developments. Planes that soar forever on station? Read about the stratovision television plane from the prescient E.B. White short story The Morning of the Day They Did It. And of course Roger Zelazny's wonderful solar-powered tracer bird surveillance drones.
Via Solar-powered Zephyr plane beats unmanned flight record.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/25/2008)
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 ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...' - EB White, 1950.
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1936.
Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.' - George Orwell, 1948.
Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition
'... designed to foil facial recognition systems.' - Neal Stephenson, 2019
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.
CAV-X Supercavitating Ammo Deadly Underwater
'...in the midst of this fluid, which is very dense compared with the atmosphere, shots could not go far.'
Space Domes Over-rated? Science Fiction Authors Have Answers
'This was to be roofed over, sealed, and an atmosphere provided...'
Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'
Autonomous Wheelchairs Improve Airport Mobility
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'
HVSD, Kitty Hawk's Electric Plane
Very quiet commuter plane offers VTOL service.
Frictionless Toilet Could Save 140 Billion Liters Of Water
'The bowl was a frictionless surface...'
Viisights AI Hones Video Surveillance
'The math boys worked it out...'
Cybertruck The Solar-Powered Steel Tortoise
'It drew its power from... sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
Road Noise Charges Electric Cars With Peugeot Piezoelectric Billboard
''... major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.'
Unsinkable Metal Latest Gates Obsession
'A metal... light as cork.'
M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
'Faster the cubes moved...'
NASA 'Broomstick' Recalls SciFi Ideas
'The appearance was enough like a giant witch's broom to justify the nickname.'
Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements
'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'
Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'
Vascularized Human Skin 3D Printed
Trillionaires Still Earth-Bound
'I shall never forget the sight... when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the star dust.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories