Solar-powered Solara UAV could stay aloft for years

The Solara 60 will have a 196-foot wingspan.

(Credit: Titan Aerospace)

So-called high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAVs like the Global Hawk have been around for a while, but a New Mexico startup wants to launch gigantic drones that won’t have to land for years.

Titan Aerospace recently showed off its designs for the Solara 50 and 60, solar-powered unmanned flyers that it calls “atmospheric satellites.”

They’re designed to be a fraction of the cost of a satellite while delivering a range of functionality from forest fire and atmospheric monitoring to live mapping and narcotics tracking.

Both would feature massive wings, more than 160 feet across and covered with thousands of solar cells drawing solar energy and storing it in lithium ion batteries for night flying.

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