• 3 minutes Could Venezuela become a net oil importer?
  • 7 minutes Reuters: OPEC Ministers Agree In Principle On 1 Million Barrels Per Day Nominal Output Increase
  • 12 minutes Battle for Oil Port: East Libya Forces In Full Control At Ras Lanuf
  • 5 hours Oil prices going Up? NO!
  • 15 hours Renewables to generate 50% of worldwide electricity by 2050 (BNEF report)
  • 14 hours Reuters: OPEC Ministers Agree In Principle On 1 Million Barrels Per Day Nominal Output Increase
  • 8 mins The Tony Seba report
  • 20 hours Oil prices going down
  • 22 hours Could oil demand collapse rapidly? Yup, sure could.
  • 1 hour Saudi Arabia turns to solar
  • 13 hours China’s Plastic Waste Ban Will Leave 111 Million Tons of Trash With Nowhere To Go
  • 2 days Oil Buyers Club
  • 7 hours Kenya Eyes 200+ Oil Wells
  • 7 hours Are Electric Vehicles Really Better For The Environment?
  • 2 days Gazprom Exports to EU Hit Record
  • 2 days Russia's Energy Minister says Oil Prices Balanced at $75, so Wants to Increase OPEC + Russia Oil by 1.5 mbpd
  • 22 hours Battle for Oil Port: East Libya Forces In Full Control At Ras Lanuf
  • 2 days Could Venezuela become a net oil importer?
  • 21 hours Tesla Closing a Dozen Solar Facilities in Nine States
Australia Looks To Tackle Its Looming Gas Shortage

Australia Looks To Tackle Its Looming Gas Shortage

The world’s soon-to-be top liquefied…

U.S. Overtakes Saudi Arabia In Recoverable Oil Reserves

U.S. Overtakes Saudi Arabia In Recoverable Oil Reserves

The United States has overtaken…

Facebook’s Solar-Powered Plane Undergoes First Official Test Flight

Aquila Facebook

The Aquila, a solar-powered aircraft that Facebook hopes can provide Internet access, took off on its first official test flight, according to Wired on Thursday.

The plane was able to fly successfully for a little over an hour-and-a-half during the flight that took place on 28 June in restricted airspace of a U.S. Army airfield at Yuma, Arizona.

Martin Gomez, one of the Facebook technicians working on Aquila, explained that the flight was only planned for thirty minutes, but was extended by three times as long. As a result, engineers were able to gather key data on the plane’s four motors, its autopilot system, its batteries, and its radios.

As described in TechCrunch, the aircraft has a longer wingspan that a Boeing 737, but its lithium ion batteries uses less energy than three hair dryers. Hence, the greater energy efficiency can help the Aquila reach its goal of flying for ninety-day periods while providing Internet coverage to areas sixty miles wide.

Prior to Aquila, Facebook tested twenty-eight prototypes in the United States and Great Britain. Future models could fly for months at a time, rely on solar power, reach heights of up to 90,000 feet and provide mobile broadband access to an estimated 1.6 million people.

Facebook anticipates giving away the blueprints for its aircraft and other Internet devices in order to allow governments and private firms to help spread access to isolated areas. The planes could also send broadband directly to mobile phones or to a terrestrial base station that would then send the signal to devices.

The test flight was not entirely flawless, however, as Aquila suffered what was described as “structural failure” just before landing. Also, planners will need to figure out a viable system to launch the aircraft so that they may fly at least 60,000 feet in the air. Subsequent tests will add to Aquila the communications payload that will beam Internet signals to the ground.

By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News