Facebook Build Carbon Fibre Aircraft:
About 40% of the world is currently connected to the Internet, and Facebook is looking to connect with the rest of the world with affordable and accessible Internet. Facebook Build Carbon Fibre Aircraft
Using traditional methods to connect people in remote areas is a very expensive business. One-fifth of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty, at $ 1.25 a day or less. While progress has been made in connecting more than 90 percent of the world’s population to 2G networks, the use of traditional methods in the near term is 100 per cent imposable.
Facebook is seeking to address these issues and is developing a range of new technologies, including high-altitude airplanes, satellites, free space optics and terrestrial solutions to help speed up connectivity to unserved and underserved processes. The company announced that its first full-size model of Aquila – our aviation team designed in the UK for high altitude, long-term endurance aircraft is complete and ready for flight testing.
With Aquila, the team has designed a new aircraft architecture that can support a few months of staying in the air. The Aquila is powered by solar power and when activated it will create a 50 km radius of communication for up to 90 days, signaling the area to people. This signal will be received by small towers and dishes, and then converted into Wi-Fi or LTE networks, people can use their mobile phones and smartphones connected to.
In order to do it all, the team had to make the plane really big and really light. Aquila has a Boeing 737 wingspan but weighs one-third of the electric car. Monomer wings are made of carbon fibers that are stronger than steel for the same mass of material.
During the day, the aircraft will fly between 60,000 and 90,000 feet – higher than commercial air traffic and higher than the weather. The height of the air is thin, about 5% of sea level, so in the design of the use of high aspect ratio wings and lower arc airfoil to optimize its lift to drag ratio. During the day, the aircraft will fly 90,000 feet to maximize its ability to charge solar cells. In the evening, it will glide to 60,000 feet, using gravity potential to consume less power.
Full-scale flight testing will begin later this year, following a small-scale flight test early in the UK.
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