Because solar drones have the advantages of long-haul time and non-polluting energy, their development has attracted the attention of all countries. At present, solar drones are mainly planned for high-altitude long-range reconnaissance or surveillance, and can be continuously reconnaissance in tens of thousands of meters of air to partially replace the functions of reconnaissance satellites. The more famous solar drone is the "Sun God" drone developed by NASA-funded AeroVironment. The aircraft is a rectangular flying wing layout with a wingspan of 75 meters and a length of 2.4 meters. It is equipped with 65,000 solar battery blocks, which can supply 40 kW of electric power to drive 14 propellers. It can fly at a cruising speed of 30 to 50 kilometers per hour. After 10 hours and 17 minutes of flight, it can reach a height of 22,800 meters. In 2013, Titan Aerospace introduced two Solara solar drones: Type 50 and Type 60, with a planned five-year continuous flight.
The British "Westerly Wind 7" solar drone is the longest continuous drone in actual flight. It is taken by 3 to 4 people. The maximum flying height can reach 40,000 meters, and the battery life has reached 35 days. It can be from 18,288 meters. At high altitude, the ground target with a size of only 25.4 cm is accurately captured.
With the demand for new energy and the continuous development of solar cell technology, solar aircraft will continue to increase their flight capacity and carrying weight. Solar aircraft have evolved from drones to solar-powered aircraft. The "Sunshine Power 2" manned solar-powered aircraft developed by Swiss Sunshine Power Co., Ltd. is flying around the world. The aircraft wing is equipped with 17,000 ultra-thin and high-efficiency solar panels with a wingspan of 72 meters, an average speed of 50-100 kilometers per hour, a maximum flying height of 8,500 meters and a weight of 2,300 kilograms. The crew is a pilot. It can fly continuously during the day and night, and has been flying for 80 hours. "Sunshine Power" predicts that after more than 30 years, all-solar aircraft capable of carrying 300 passengers are expected to be officially put into operation. Humans will truly realize the dream of fuel-free and environmentally friendly flights. In the future, space-free unmanned solar power plants can be built in space, and power is continuously supplied to the earth.
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