Airbus’ “Zephyr S” stays in the air for 26 days

Airbus Zephyr Solar High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite ©Airbus

Airbus Defence and Space has announced the successful landing of its first production aircraft of the Zephyr programme, the new Zephyr S HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite).

After taking off on July 11, in Arizona, USA, Zephyr S logged a maiden flight of over 25 days, the longest duration flight ever made. An application has been made to establish this as a new world record. This maiden flight of the solar powered Zephyr S proves the system capabilities and achieved all the flight’s engineering objectives.

The previous longest flight duration record was also logged by a Zephyr prototype aircraft a few years ago, achieving then more than 14 days continuous flight, which already was ten times longer than any other aircraft in the world.
This new record flight was supported by the UK government and reflects the UK Ministry of Defence’s position as the first customer for this innovative and potentially game changing capability.

Zephyr is the world’s leading, solar–electric, stratospheric Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). It harnesses the sun’s rays, running exclusively on solar power, above the weather and conventional air traffic; filling a capability gap complimentary to satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide persistent local satellite-like services.

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