ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever

The ODYSSEUS aircraft is entirely solar-powered, which will enable it to fly slowly on station almost indefinitely.


(ODYSSEUS from Aurora-Boeing)

Powered only by the sun, Odysseus is an ultra-long endurance, high-altitude platform built for groundbreaking persistence. Utilizing advanced solar cells and built with lightweight materials, Odysseus can effectively fly indefinitely – all powered by clean, renewable energy.

The inspiration for Odysseus started with the Daedalus Project that ultimately set records in distance and for human-powered flight in 1988 with a 72-mile flight between the Greek islands of Crete and Santorini. The project was organized and led by Aurora President and CEO John Langford and other MIT colleagues who later founded Aurora. Daedalus’ records still stand today.

“Aurora was founded by the idea that technology and innovation can provide powerful solutions to tough problems that affect all of humankind. Odysseus was an idea born out of Daedalus that is now a real solution to advancing the important research around climate change and other atmospheric chemistry problems,” said Aurora President and CEO John Langford. “Odysseus offers persistence like no other solar aircraft of its kind, which is why it is such a capable and necessary platform for researchers. Odysseus will indeed change the world.”

(Via Aurora Flight Science (Boeing).)

Odysseus is expected to fly in 2019.

In 1950, writer E.B. White thought that there might be Stratovideo planes that could endlessly fly on station. They were television studios that could follow news stories beneath them. I should also point out that John Campbell predicted the idea of solar-powered planes in his 1930 story The Black Star Passes.

Take a look at this story from ten years ago about DARPA's similar Vulture program, which also details Helios, an earlier solar plane effort, with more science fiction references - DARPA Vulture Five Year Flying Wing.

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