Monday, 20 Sep, 2010 Environment

SolarEagle - Boeing's Solar Powered Aircraft that Can Stay Aloft for 5 Years


Boeing managed to sign a $89 million contract with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create an unmanned airplane that can stay aloft for 5 years.

Boeing spokesperson Pat O'Neil said that the aircraft, dubbed SolarEagle, can fly non-stop for up to five years at stratospheric altitudes (over 60,000 feet).

This became possible thanks to the electric motors and propellers, a 400-foot wingspan and improved aerodynamics.

He also mentioned that by taking advantage of a highly reliable solar-electric design, SolarEagle will be able to perform "persistent communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions."

During its first test flight the aircraft is expected to stay in the air for 30 days. The solar power stored in fuel cells will be used to power SolarEagle at night, informs TG Daily.

The first test flight to the SolarEagle is expected to be carried out in 2014.

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