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ELEKTRO 3/2018 was released on March 14th 2018. Its digital version will be available on March 14th 2018.

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Facebook’s Aquila drone completes its second test flight

30.06.2017 | TechCrunch | www.techcrunch.com

Facebook’s plan to use large solar-powered high-altitude drones to connect areas of the world that traditionally haven’t had reliable internet access marked a significant milestone. Aquila, its first functional aircraft, completed its second successful test flight — and landed successfully, too.

Aquila’s second flight occurred on May 22, with take-off occurring just after dawn, and a total flight time of one hour and 46 minutes in the air. The drone rose to a flight ceiling of above 3,000 feet, and climbed at a rate that was double that of the first test flight — Aquila ascended at 180 feet/minute.

Aquila drone

This second voyage for Aquila was also all about gathering data, specifically to help the team adjust the models they use to predict energy usage and optimize battery and solar system design, based on real-world data. These have, of course, been extensively modeled in simulation, but actually flying a drone in conditions similar to how it would be deployed when active commercially is the only way to get those details right.

The plan eventually is for Aquila to fly for up to 90 days at a time, offering internet access to an area 60 miles wide using the giant craft, which has a massive 113-foot wingspan.

Read more at TechCrunch

Image Credit: Facebook