Just months away from the unveiling of the Aquila drone, first of its kind, a string of misfortunes halts Zuckerberg’s efforts to deliver internet access worldwide. On June 28th, Aquila apparently passed the tests with flying colors. However, a new release claims otherwise.
At the time of testing, Facebook revealed the Aquila drone, an unmanned flying machine, powered by solar energy. The main reason Zuckerberg had invested in this piece of technology was to provide internet service to the remotest of the world’s areas straight from above. Last year, Facebook made yet another attempt to deliver internet services to people who do not benefit from a stable connection or at all through Internet.org. However, it seems that both instances ended up in failure.
Facebook’s Aquila Drone
The Facebook’s latest achievement, namely the Aquila drone is a top of the line flying machine with a wingspan wider than of a Boeing 737. It is the first ever solar powered plane operating entirely on its own. Without a human having to fly the Aquila drone and equipped with solar panels that provide the required energy, the flying apparatus can soar the skies for nearly six months at a time.
Furthermore, it weighs less than a car and can hover between 60,000 and 90,000 feet in the air. As far as delivering internet services is concerned, the Aquila drone uses laser communication technology to provide internet access to remote areas of the world.
“Our mission is to connect everybody in the world”, says Jay Parikh, Vice President of engineering.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has revealed that on June 28th, the Aquila drone suffered a structural failure upon landing.
Even though no one was hurt in the incident, the Facebook drone is no longer airworthy. Consequently, the NTSB classified the failure as an accident with substantial damage, hence their decision.
Following the intensive tests of the Aquila drone, Facebook has released a statement expressing their content with the results.
“We were happy with the successful first test flight”, declares Facebook.
By analyzing the results, engineers were able to verify a wide range of performance models as well as component. The list includes control systems, aerodynamics, batteries, and crew training.
However, the statement makes no mention as of why is the NTSB involved with investigating the test flights. Moreover, a SpaceX rocket exploded recently during launch. More interesting was the fact that it was carrying a Facebook satellite tasked with spreading internet access across remote areas like Africa.
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