Picture of the Day: Unmanned Solar-powered Sunglider passes tests

Picture of the Day: Unmanned Solar-powered Sunglider passes tests

It was back in July 2016 that we highlighted the success of Solar Impulse, which completed the amazing feat of the first round-the-world solar flight.

Four years later and a company called HAPSMobile has announced the fourth successful test flight of its “Sunglider” solar-powered high-altitude platform system (HAPS, that’s where it comes from).

The flight actually took place last month – July 23, 2020 – at Spaceport America in New Mexico, the favoured locale for test flights of many sorts.

With all basic aircraft tests for the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) now complete, it said, HAPSMobile will proceed with preparations for stratospheric test flights.

“We’re extremely pleased that we successfully completed all basic tests. The test flight validates the research results we have steadily accumulated, and the graceful flight at our new facility in Spaceport America has given us great confidence,” said the President & CEO of HAPSMobile, Junichi Miyakawa (also Representative Director & CTO of SoftBank).

“Based on our experience and learnings from these basic tests, I feel there are even greater possibilities for the HAPS business. We’ll continue to work toward our ultimate goal of bridging the world’s digital divide and revolutionising mobile connectivity by leveraging the HAPS platform.”

Solar-powered Solar Impulse

The full Solar Impulse journey took longer than a year, starting in March 2015, but the aircraft finally touched down in Abu Dhabi to complete Leg 17, and its circumnavigation of the globe.

It represented a journey of 40,000km without using fuel. Amazing.

[Via New Atlas]