UK-based QinetiQ said its Zephyr, a solar-powered, high-altitude, unmanned aerial vehicle, flew for 82 hours and 37 minutes from the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
Zephyr is an ultra-lightweight, carbon-fiber aircraft, powered by amorphous silicon solar arrays thinner than paper. The arrays cover its wings and provide power during the day. Rechargeable lithium-sulphur batteries, from SION Power Inc, store the energy and power the aircraft at night.
Satellite communications and autopilot allowed the Zephyr to fly at an altitude of more than 60,000 feet above the Sonoran Desert -- where temperatures soared to 113°F -- from July 28 to July 31.
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