If you are new to Skydweller, know that this American-Spanish aerospace company is developing a new class of unmanned aircraft, which combines the characteristics of a solar-powered aircraft with the capabilities of a geosynchronous satellite (a satellite with a position fixed and an orbital period which corresponds to the period of rotation of the Earth). In other words, this autonomous zero-emission aircraft will be able to achieve perpetual flight, while carrying a heavy and powerful telecommunications payload.
During this recent round of tests in Albacete, Spain, the company’s engineers and meteorologists evaluated all of the autopilot controls and the aircraft’s advanced weather and climate data analysis capabilities. Since it runs on solar energy, the Skydweller depends on the weather. The company has therefore also developed advanced weather and climate forecasting models that will be used to establish optimized flight routes.
The multinational startup has ambitious goals – it is determined to grow ”the most sophisticated and commercially viable autonomy”For a solar powered aircraft. Considering that at the start of this year he was awarded a contract with the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), it seems he is on the right track.
Equipped with autonomous control and waypoint navigation systems, the solar-powered aircraft is also capable of carrying a heavy payload of up to 880 lbs (400 kg). Satellite communications, imagery radars, communication relays and day / night video capabilities are just a few of the elements that can be integrated into its flexible payload system.
With such impressive telecommunications assets, the Skydweller is intended to support the government’s geospatial, meteorological and emergency operations. In addition, the final stand-alone version will be able to conduct extensive operations in difficult areas, without impact on the environment.
Testing of the Skydweller will continue over the next few months, before the final phase, when this revolutionary aircraft will perform fully autonomous long-endurance flights.