Aurora Flight Sciences' solar powered UAV flies

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Aurora Flight Sciences' unmanned aircraft SunLight Eagle flew on 12 May. The solar-powered, 34.7m (114ft) wingspan, 75kg (165lb) UAV became airborne at New Mexico State University's Physical Science Laboratory Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Center at Las Cruces airport.

 

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 © Aurora Flight Sciences
Its first test objective was the collection of data on its aerodynamic performance and the solar cells. The next step for SunLight Eagle is to fly longer at higher altitudes. This will require an improved control system and the addition of a parachute. The next flight could be in August.