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China’s first solar-powered, semi-satellite drone

  • Published
    10th Sep, 2022
Context

China’s first near-space solar-powered large unmanned aerial vehicle completed its maiden flight. It is seen as a step towards green development.

About
  • China has built its first solar-powered large unmanned aerial vehicle called ‘Qimingxing-50 ‘(Morning Star).
  • It can be used for time-sensitive operations and during war and one of its kinds of technology where drone will use solar energy for its operations.
  • Details:
  • It has a wingspan of 164 feet.
  • It is also the first high-altitude, low-speed drone with an ultrahigh aspect ratio produced by the Chinese aviation sector.

What are unmanned arerial vehicles or Drones?

  • Unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV), military aircraft that is guided autonomously, by remote control, or both and that carries sensors, target designators, offensive ordnance, or electronic transmitters designed to interfere with or destroy enemy targets.

How drones will use solar energy?

  • The drone is designed to fly at altitudes of more than 20 km above the Earth’s surface where there is stable airflow with no clouds.
  • It will use solar energy to fly and get energy. As a result, it can make the maximum use of solar equipment to stay functional for longer durations.
  • However, the UAV can keep flying even during periods of overnight darkness.

How will it give an edge to the Chinese army?

  • The successful flight of the Qimingxing-50 will encourage China to develop more large solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles, thus increasing its ability to perform tasks in near space and over far oceans and seas.

Potential Benefits

 It can be used fort purposes like;

  • high-altitude surveillance,
  • forest fire monitoring,
  • atmospheric environmental inspection,
  • aerial mapping, and
  • communication signal relay

Other Similar Technologies

  • Airbus Zephyr S drone- built by US
  • US Helios
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