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 -
BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'- Bruce Sterling, 1998.
3D Printed Car Can Launch POV Drone
Just the thing for the Runaway squad - and you and me.
NVIDIA's DAVE2 Autonomous Car Learns From Drivers
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets...' - Anthony Boucher, 1943.
Superior Morals For Autonomous Cars
Exemplars of military and civic virtue.
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.
Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.
Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'
Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'
How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'
'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'
proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...'
Robots And AIs Will Replace Humans At 7 Percent Of U.S. Jobs
'And Mike took on endless new jobs.'
Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
'Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs...'
FEDOR Humanoid Robot To Join Russians In Space
Am enjoying view of Russian robot.
BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'
MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
'And it had been dragging something...'
Linear Elastic Actuator in Parallel (LEAP) - It's A Hopping Robot
'...Probably the most grotesque forms of transportation ever invented.'
Smart Glove Controls 3D Printed Robotic Arm (Waldo!)
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the... waldoes... followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'
Wearables For Animals Totally A Thing
'Twin deformities on either side of his skull had been engineered to house sensor units.'
Tomatoes From Sun And Seawater
'Hydroponics. Gotta almost do it, if I'm going way out to Mars without much supplies.'
Hadrian X Construction Robot From Fastbrick Robotics
Hope Hadrian is never a runaway!
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories