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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

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

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'

Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'

Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.

Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.