the solar plane

From brian carroll <>
Date Thu, 21 Jun 2001 08:15:21 -0800

  [heard about this a while ago, about such planes constantly up
  in the atmosphere, used for electromagnetic (EM) communications
  relays between various ground stations aroudn the world, as an
  adjunct/replacement for the much more expensive satellite net.
  so too, i believe balloons have been pitched for this reason,
  and assume they must be used during wartime and surveillance
  for communications relays, etc...]

NASA Plans Solar Plane Test Flights

By Andrew Bridges
AP Science Writer
Thursday, June 21, 2001; 8:56 a.m. EDT
LOS ANGELES -- NASA is planning a series of test flights of an 
unmanned flying wing that's designed to run on solar power and cruise 
for days at 100,000 feet, more than three times higher than 
commercial jets.

The first of as many as three flights could come this weekend from a 
Navy airstrip on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration developed the 
Helios Prototype with AeroVironment Inc. in a bid to build a remotely 
piloted aircraft that could replace space satellites for some 

"The goal is extreme-duration, sustained high-altitude, 
long-endurance flight for essentially Earth observing and 
telecommunications," said John Hicks, who manages NASA's 
Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology project at the 
Dryden Flight Research Center. "Basically, it's to try to get it up 
for six months at a time."

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