Facebook's solar plane takes off, beams internet to remote locations

Facebook's solar plane has resounding success in first test flight, will beam internet to remote parts of Africa.

@seanridgeley
Published Thu, Jul 21 2016 4:28 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:59 AM CST

Facebook's first test flight for Aquila - the solar-powered plane that beams internet to remote regions -- was a success. Beginning on June 28 in Arizona, it went even better than expected: total flight time was about 288 minutes, much longer than the planned 96 minutes.

The plane -- developed by subsidiary company Ascenta in Bridgwater, Somerset - has the wingspan of a typical airline plane, but weighs less than a car, and consumes just 5,000 watts of energy.

"We're encouraged by this first successful flight, but we have a lot of work ahead of us," says Facebook head of engineering and infrastruture Jay Parikh. "In our next tests, we will fly Aquila faster, higher and longer, eventually taking it above 60,000 feet."

Facebook's solar plane takes off, beams internet to remote locations | TweakTown.com

Assuming the project is a complete success, it will eventually provide internet to four million people in remote sub-saharan regions of Africa.

NEWS SOURCE:theguardian.com

Sean has a background in journalism, and has been using that to write about gaming and tech since 2008 - first for Neoseeker, then Rage3D, and now, TweakTown. As News Editor, Sean's job is to supply regular stories on the latest happenings in the tech world. He also writes tweak guides to help you get the most out of your PC games and hardware.

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