Odysseus solar-powered aircraft could fly continuously, says Aurora Flight Sciences

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Aurora Flight Science has announced its new solar-powered aircraft, Odysseus, has the capacity to remain airborne indefinitely.

Set to become operational in 2019, Odysseus is one of the few High-Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) current being developed.

The solar-powered planes have larger-than-normal wingspans to provide spacing for photovoltaic cells, which have the ability to replicate the use of satellites at a much lower cost.

Odysseus is designed to fly in the stratosphere, where the plane can be exposed to optimum levels of sunlight during the day, which allows the aircraft to store significant amounts of solar energy for continual power.

Aurora Flight Science’s new aircraft has a 74m wingspan and due to its small frame, weighs less than a smart car. Whilst it could be possible to keep the aircraft in the air permanently, missions are thought to last a number of months at a time.

“Aurora was founded by the idea that technology and innovation can provide powerful solutions to tough problems that affect all of humankind,” said President and CEO of Aurora, John Langford.

“Odysseus was an idea born out of Daedalus that is now a real solution to advancing the important research around climate change and other atmospheric chemistry problems.

“Odysseus offers persistence like no other solar aircraft of its kind, which is why it is such a capable and necessary platform for researchers.”

 

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