Recently, I wrote that the
Zephyr solar-powered unmanned aircraft set a record by holding out for a week in the air, spending all that time in the atmosphere. Now, developers have drunk with champagne have the right to rejoice once again, because another record was set - now the unique drone lasted two weeks in the air! You can imagine how much information an aircraft, capable of quietly, can accumulate at a very high altitude (18 kilometers) to fly for almost an unlimited amount of time. I think if he stayed in the air for two weeks, then he will last half a year, because there, at a great height, conditions change very rarely.
True, at night the drone flew a little lower, but the height difference was insignificant. The tests were conducted by a team of developers from the company Qinetiq in the Arizona desert - and then surely the weather conditions are always about the same. It is worth recalling that the total mass of the aircraft is not so small, it is as much as 50 kilograms, and the wingspan of our aircraft is 22 meters. Solar panels cover almost all exposed surfaces of the wings, accumulating energy during the day.
The plane spends less energy during the day than it accumulates, so everything accumulated is given to batteries, which store energy until night, giving it to electric motors when energy is most needed for an UAV. It is also worth noting that the Zephyr solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle can operate in a very wide temperature range - from 40 degrees Celsius above zero to minus 75 degrees below (!). Agree, not every mechanism will withstand such conditions.
Since the tests were even better than the creators of the unique drone had hoped for, he will soon begin to perform very real tasks. What kind? In general, the developers call the study of the atmosphere or monitoring of the earth's surface. But we all understand that this device, flying at a huge height and practically does not emit heat, is almost an ideal air spy.
The total duration of the non-stop flight Zephyr was 336 hours and 24 minutes.
And here is the source