Finally, after years of developing, Aurora Flight Sciences has revealed Odysseus, a full-scale, solar-powered, autonomous aircraft that can fly in the air for months at a time, according to New Atlas.
The first test flight is scheduled in 2019, but Odysseus is not the only High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) under development.
HAPS occupy the spot between conventional UAVs and traditional satellites. Ultimately, they are designed to fly autonomously for an indefinite period of time, while powered by solar energy.
Although previously Odysseus was designed in a Z-shape, now, the full-scale prototype has a more conventional shape that resembles other HAPS.
Aurora has claimed that Odysseus has “a greater year-round global operating zone than any other vehicle in its class,” and “can carry a larger payload than any other aircraft in development or production in its class.”
The craft consists of carbon fiber trusses covered with a UV-resistant film known as Tedlar, in order to keep the entirety of it lightweight. Solar cells that are attached to the upper surface of the fuselage generate electricity, while the wings power the motors. Additionally, batteries are stored onboard to keep it flying at night.
HAPS can be utilized for long-term climate and weather observation, military applications, and more. Aurora believes Odysseus may change the future of HAPS.
“Odysseus offers persistence like no other solar aircraft of its kind, which is why it is such a capable and necessary platform for researchers,” says John Langford, Aurora President and CEO. “Odysseus will indeed change the world.”
Filed Under: Motion control • motor controls