Solar-powered Plane in Record Attempt

FARNBOROUGH, England, July 14 (UPI) — A British solar-powered aircraft will attempt a non-stop, day and night endurance record flight lasting two weeks, observers say.

The Zephyr, build by British company Qinetiq, is set to take off from a United States military base this week, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Qinetiq, a defense and research company, has already flown the unmanned Zephyr on flights as long as 83 hours, the BBC said.

A solar-powered vehicle, which can recharge its batteries during daytime flight to stay aloft through the night, can circle over a particular area for extended periods.

Such craft could have a wide range of applications in the future, the BBC said.

Military applications could include reconnaissance and communications missions. Civilian and scientific programs could employ them for Earth observation duties, the BBC said.

“We now have an aircraft that we believe is capable of actually fulfilling missions for the military or the civil user,” Zephyr project manager John Saltmarsh said.

“We would offer it as a service. We would provide a ‘hook in the sky’ that you could put a payload on to, and we will guarantee to keep it up there 24 hours a day for a couple of months,” he said.

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Categorized | Military, Other, Solar
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