Date
24 October 2017
A file picture shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg holding a propeller pod for the Aquila drone that aims to take the internet to remote parts of the world. Photo: Bloomberg
A file picture shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg holding a propeller pod for the Aquila drone that aims to take the internet to remote parts of the world. Photo: Bloomberg

Facebook’s Aquila drone completes first test flight

Facebook announced Thursday that it has completed the full-scale flight of its solar-powered drone in a project aimed at beaming the internet to the remote corners of the world.

The unmanned plane, named Aquila, remained in the air for 96 minutes in a test over Arizona and gathered valuable data that will help the company improve its design, Facebook said in a statement.

At cruise altitude, the plane consumed 2,000 watts of power — only as much as a hair dryer or a high-end microwave, it said.

“On our next flights, we will fly Aquila faster, higher and longer,” Facebook said.

“Eventually, it will fly at 60,000-90,000 feet beaming connectivity down to people.”

Aquila is part of an initiative aimed at bringing internet connectivity to underserved areas in the globe.

As many as 1.6 billion people live in remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks, Facebook noted.

Thursday’s test flight was the first in a series of functional checks designed to verify Aquila’s operational models and overall structure

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