Realty One Group
Silicon Valley, CA
It looks like Aquila maiden test flight was successful. It is a U-2 type of high flying attitude light plane that flies above the drone or airplane space between 60,000 to 90,000 ft above sea level. Unlike U-2 which uses a special gas needing oxygen. Aquila is entirely powered by solar propelled by slower moving drone. The biggest selling feature is low power (equivalent 3 hair blowers or 5K watts only) is needed to turn the 4 propellers at ~80 mph. It must have thin Li-ion batteries to store electricity for floatating at night. 50% of drone weight is from the batteries stuffed.
In spite of 13 hour flying a day without solar source, I doubt in northern or southern tip of earth where you have dark months most of year the bird will fly. The communication technology is advanced enough it does not appear the beam or transmission will be a problem. It will transmit to stationary satellites above them. I think they need to optimize the bandwidth to transmit 2G, 3G or 4G over each continent.
The plus side is it is well funded. FB Creativity Lab has the backing of Mark Zukerberg, You demonstrate the capability funding and material scientist wages is not an issue. In the video it shows the experienced technocrats are inside the trailer monitor and test while the chiefs are mostly newer college grads.
The carbon fiber materials selected is already used inside commercial jet engines made by GE and others. It is stronger and complaint to shatter if a bird is sucked inside the jet engine. Payload, engine reliability, and battery storage, and bandwidth in my view need to be demonstrated and refined to make it commercially doable. These are most likely radar evading type so what happens is it gets loaded by terrorists with explosives. What does FAA will say?
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With the laser transmission technology the drones will circle a 2,827 mile area covering countries not reachable by Internet today. The proto type weights only less than 900 pounds. So a storm collision at low attitude can be problematic. Its program manager Kathryn Cook is a young solar and material engineer who did a stunt at Boeing. The head of the lab is a MIT scientist named Yael Maguire. He switched between a biologist and science and is heading the Lab. Their combined age will be close to many AR rainmakers. Time will tell if innovation is more important than their of lack of track record.
FB is not alone. They seem to focus on packaging a proven technology. Google has a drone project named Skybender that also flies at high altitude and trying to push 5G technology. According to technocrats it is very hard to develop the next generation of technology. What about solar flares, EMI issues not obvious with fiberoptics channel on ground?
Google X also has been testing a high altitude in the stratosphere ballons to transmit to transmit wireless network with up to 4G speeds. There has been a number of ballon crashes and bad publicity news. New Zeeland seems to support the development of the technology as it does not have the internet as advanced as other countries.
Shueh, Sam (Real EstateBlogs)
Sam Shueh Realtor
I've called San Francisco South Bay home for over 30 years. We love this area and all it has to offer, and I enjoy sharing what I know about homes. I documented in several books about Silicon Valley history. I have much expertise in real estate...please give me a call. SamshuehRealtor@gmail.com