Portugal-based startup Quarkson has just announced a successful test flight of its SkyOrbiter LA25 platform.
Quarkson founder and CEO Miguel Ângelo called the pressure-filled test a “success” and said it has brought the company closer to its objective, which is to use the platforms to “make available high speed, low latency SkyOrbiter powered internet to every person on Earth”
It is Quarkson’s belief that the platform will eventually have the ability to hover at heights of 22,000 km over an area for week, month, or even yearlong intervals, only to return to the ground for maintenance. To achieve the feat, the platform would require first-class solar and battery technology in addition to other feasible breakthroughs.
According to Quarkson, by pushing LTE or WiFi on unlicensed spectrum or WiFi, LTE, 3G, or 2G connections through a carrier’s licensed spectrum and then combating that with Quarkson’s possible drones, it would be possible to widen web access across the planet.
“In underdeveloped areas of the world, aircraft and technology like these can’t save people who are dying from malaria or hunger, but in the long run, the Internet connectivity they bring will help these people, especially new generations, broaden their horizons to levels similar to that seen in developed countries,” Ângelo said.
The company will convey its platform’s prowess to the public April 30 during the “Castelo Branco Maiden Flight SkyOrbiter Constellation Challenge” in Castelo Branco, Portugal.
One of their most important projects is the SkyOrbiter LA25 platform, a device that was designed to stay in low atmospheric orbit for prolonged periods. It can be used for a wide range of commercial and government applications. The team is currently testing Wi-Fi-transmitting equipment that can provide internet access to local users on the ground via a patch antenna. It appears the drone’s first successful test flight took place on April 2.
The one in question was a small version of those planned for eventual use with a wingspan of 5 m (16 ft). It was flown within line of sight up to an altitude of 330 ft (100 m), and successfully relayed a Wi-Fi signal to the ground. Similar to what Facebook’s drones, the Portuguese models are designed to be fully autonomous with an energy management system, autopilot and ground control software, and long communications working on different frequencies.
The high-endurance aerial system is able to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is estimated to be over 100 times less expensive that terrestrial communications network deployment. Since the Portugues government has not yet allowed them to fly the full-scale model, they have only tested smaller drone so far.
Source: PD Net