An Airbus plane successfully completes an 18-day flight and sets a world record

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Airbus has completed the “most ambitious and successful” test flight of its solar-powered Zephyr S after spending 18 consecutive days of flying.

The British-made drone flew over Arizona, in the United States, and set a new world record for “absolute altitude”. At 76,100 feet above the surface, the Zephyr S recorded a total of 36 days of stratospheric flight across two tests this summer. The latest test was conducted in August in partnership with Japan’s NTT DOCOMO, and saw the Zephyr high-speed broadband beam to the surface from an onboard radio transmitter.

The Japanese mobile operator has now confirmed that the test was a success and has highlighted potential applications for the Airbus High Altitude Platform (HAPS) system.

The goal was to deliver an aerial platform that could provide 5G and 6G connectivity from the sky to the far reaches of the globe – such as Elon Musk’s fleet of Starlink satellites.

But in this case, operators will use a fleet of solar-powered aircraft rather than satellites.

The Zephyr UAV has been developed since 2003 and was first built by British defense contractor QinetiQ.

Since then, the aircraft has been tested by the US military and sold to Airbus Defense and Space, formerly known as EADS Astrium.

The latest model of the Zephyr S comes with an 82-foot wingspan and two propeller engines that are powered entirely by solar energy.

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The first flight of an aircraft

Even more impressively, the plane produces no greenhouse gases and uses no fuel, giving it a “carbon neutral” badge of honor.

Takehiro Nakamura, General Manager of DOCOMO’s 6G-IOWN Promotion Department, said: “DOCOMO believes that HAPS will be a promising solution to expand coverage in the evolution of 5G and 6G. In this benchmarking experiment, we were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of HAPS, especially for direct connection to smartphones, by measurements of “Long range deployment using actual HAPS equipment. Based on these results, we would like to further study the practical application of HAPS terminals in the evolution of 5G and 6G with Airbus.”

“Billions of people around the world suffer from poor or no connectivity. These tests show us the feasibility of the stratosphere to bridge this gap and provide direct device connectivity via Zephyr without the need for terminals,” added Stefan Jennos, President of Airbus North Asia and President of Airbus Japan KK. base or additional infrastructure.

The Airbus test was conducted in August of this year, as the spacecraft landed in Arizona on September 13.

It was part of an extensive campaign of six test flights in total, four of which were at low level and two were flights into the stratosphere.

Each flight lasted about 18 days, adding to Zephyr’s total of 2,435 stratospheric flight hours so far.

“Reliable and proven superior agility and payload interoperability underscore why Zephyr is the industry leader,” said Jana Rosenman, Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems at Airbus. “It is a sustainable solution powered by solar, ISR and network expansion that can provide vital future connectivity and Earth observation. to where it is needed.”

According to Airbus, the plane will have the ability to stay in the air for months at a time.

Source: Express





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