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The Military Transportation Science Technology

Zephyr Solar Plane Tops 7 Days Aloft 51

chichilalescu writes "The UK-built Zephyr solar-powered plane has smashed the endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle. The craft took off from the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona at 1440 BST (0640 local time) last Friday and is still in the air. Maybe we can attach some netbooks, and extend the Internet to the clouds."
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Zephyr Solar Plane Tops 7 Days Aloft

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  • by dadioflex ( 854298 ) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:31AM (#32935766)

    "Maybe we can attach some netbooks, and extend the internet to the clouds."

    Really? That's the best way to summarise record-breaking solar flight? A stupid, and basically illogical, pun?

  • by Alastor187 ( 593341 ) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @01:32PM (#32937720)
    There is certainly a limit to how much solar power can be collected. However, 1 kW/m^2 is a substantial amount of power, if we could get there. Take for example the high power electronics suites in UAVs. These electroncis require large amounts of power and therefore must be cooled accordingly. Now when the aircraft is running on the ground a unique cooling problem exists because only partial cooling capacity is available. This is further complicated by solar thermal loading on the ground which can exceed 1 kW/m^2. In some cases the solar loading can approach the nominal electronics power dissipation, which could drive the need for almost twice the cooling capacity. The point being that solar radiation is a significant problem at UAV power scales. There would significant opportunity if we could harness a 100% of that energy.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!