NASA has successfully tested a solar-powered electric drone known as the Silent Falcon. The drone is designed for numerous commercial, public safety, military and security applications, including NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) system.
The project is a result of NASA and the FAA’s collaboration to identify ways to safely enable large-scale Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations in low altitudes. The tests focused on the ability to alert and inform airspace users of potential dangers and situations that go BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) as well as within VLOS (visual line of sight).
The drone, known as the Silent Falcon, has a carbon fiber composite structure that provides durability while flying in all types of conditions, as well as for launch and recovery. It’s also very lightweight for ease of transport and in-air maneuverability.
The Silent Falcon’s solar electric propulsion systems gives it the unique ability to stay in the air for 5+ hours depending on environmental conditions. Once the Silent Falcon reaches 100 meters, it’s effectively undetectable. With an internet connection on the ground, users can provide secure and encrypted data to anyone, anywhere in the world on a private Silent Falcon communication network.
“We are extremely fortunate to be a part of this very important project – both in the actual flight operations, as well as the development of the UTM software,” said John Brown, Silent Falcon UAS Technologies President and CEO. “This project is extremely important to the UAS industry and is of particular interest to us as we manufacture a long-range, long-endurance fixed-wing UAS that was designed for BVLOS applications.”