Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A 5 Year Mission... boldly go where no UAV has gone before

From Ares Homepage

Like the Aurora and Boeing concepts selected for study under Darpa's Vulture program, Lockheed's UAV is solar-powered. Like Boeing's, but unlike Aurora's, it is a single vehicle intended to stay aloft for the full five years. Notable design features include the tails, which rotate to collect the most sunlight. The "launch once" vehicle will also capture photovoltaic energy from the Earth's albedo, says Derek Bye, Lockheed's Vulture program manager.

The gondolas distribute systems and payload weight along the 300ft-plus span and are connected by a lower strut that helps stabilise the lightweight, flexible structure. The engines are electric ring motors, which avoid the need for gearboxes by driving the propellers directly at a distance from the hub.

Ain't that something?



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