Airbus opened flight base for solar UAV Zephyr in Australia

Airbus Defence and Space announced the opening of the world’s first High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) flight base serving as the launch site for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Zephyr in Wyndham, Western Australia. Zephyr is a solar electric, stratospheric UAV. It runs 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.
This Australian site has been chosen due to its largely unrestricted airspace and reliable weather, says Airbus.
As reported, manufacturer and developer of high energy and high capacity lithium-ion batteries Amprius, Inc. is supplying advanced lithium ion cells to the Airbus Defence and Space Zephyr Program. Using Amprius' cells, which contain a 100 percent silicon anode, the »Zephyr S« flew more than 25 days, setting a new endurance and altitude record for stratospheric flight, says the company. Zephyr S has a wingspan of 25 meters and weighs less than 75 kg. Combining solar power and lithium ion batteries, the Zephyr aircraft holds world records for endurance as well as altitude, flying at 70,000 feet or higher. This stratospheric platform can fly for months at a time and combines the persistence of a satellite with the flexibility of an UAV.
Amprius maintains an R&D lab and corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, California; an R&D lab and pilot production line in Nanjing, China; and a manufacturing facility in Wuxi, China. Amprius is financed by venture capital and private equity investors including Trident Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, IPV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, SAIF Partners, Chinergy Capital, Wuxi IDG and DADI Capital.

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