RemotelyPossible

Facebook Sucessfully tests its maiden flight of its internet providing drone

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So this is pretty cool check out the little video, Facebook among other tech giants are designing drones that will be able to operate on solar power to stay aloft for months at a time providing rural areas reliable internet access. Whats even cooler is that Facebook has no intention of running the drones but instead is looking to give the plans to the local governments that would be running the drones. Always great to see how people are pushing the limits of drones to further increase the good for humanity!

 

http://www.wired.com/2016/07/facebooks-giant-internet-beaming-drone-finally-takes-flight/

 

 

 

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Sounds interesting, but there's one minor problem: The sun don't shine at night!  Seems to me lighter than air - helium,  or better yet, hydrogen (4 times the lift!) -  would be a much better choice.I've also heard of devices like this to add capacity for large gatherings, festivals, etc. where cell service gets overloaded.

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There is actaully a solar powered aircraft flying around the world right now. It's just about to finish up it's flight. It uses the sun to power the aircraft and charge batteries during the day then runs on battery power at night. Pretty amazing accomplishment. You can follow along live here Solar impulse Live

I think using hydrogen in airships went away after the Hindenburg.

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Solar Impulse climbed to near 30,000 ft during the day, and descended to 5,000 overnight because its batteries were insufficient to maintain altitude.  It got enough lift to stay aloft because it was flying fast.  That's much different for an aircraft that's supposed to be over more or less the same spot all the time.  It's the old adage:  Flying fast is easy.  It's flying slow that's hard. Lighter than air is certainly the way to go.  And hydrogen didn't cause the Hindenburg to fail.  When it dropped its mooring line its likely that a static discharge ignited the envelope - canvas made gas impermeable by an insanely flammable coating.

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15 hours ago, Silk Purse said:

Solar Impulse climbed to near 30,000 ft during the day, and descended to 5,000 overnight because its batteries were insufficient to maintain altitude.  It got enough lift to stay aloft because it was flying fast.  That's much different for an aircraft that's supposed to be over more or less the same spot all the time.  It's the old adage:  Flying fast is easy.  It's flying slow that's hard. Lighter than air is certainly the way to go.  And hydrogen didn't cause the Hindenburg to fail.  When it dropped its mooring line its likely that a static discharge ignited the envelope - canvas made gas impermeable by an insanely flammable coating.

This was also done intentionally as a manner of controlling momentum exchange. The sin wave pattern of the flight is designed to take advantage of the power when it has sun and can charge its batteries and reach its cruising altitude, then when the sun goes away it is able to gain that potential energy back by slowly drifting down, this gives it more kinetic energy which is than transferred into lift while also reducing the power needed from the batteries as gravity is providing the assist. Hydrogen has not gone away but we no longer rap it in highly flammable painted fabrics like in the Hindenburg (it was a chemical issue with the paint that actually caused the larger issue). We have Hydrogen powered cars but the trade off is the metal containers are heavy. Funny that the pattern of flight they used comes from the natural tendency of weather balloons to travel up in the day and down at night due to changes in the density of the air inside the balloon.

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On 7/27/2016 at 8:51 AM, RemotelyPossible said:

This was also done intentionally as a manner of controlling momentum exchange. The sin wave pattern of the flight is designed to take advantage of the power when it has sun and can charge its batteries and reach its cruising altitude, then when the sun goes away it is able to gain that potential energy back by slowly drifting down, this gives it more kinetic energy which is than transferred into lift while also reducing the power needed from the batteries as gravity is providing the assist. Hydrogen has not gone away but we no longer rap it in highly flammable painted fabrics like in the Hindenburg (it was a chemical issue with the paint that actually caused the larger issue). We have Hydrogen powered cars but the trade off is the metal containers are heavy. Funny that the pattern of flight they used comes from the natural tendency of weather balloons to travel up in the day and down at night due to changes in the density of the air inside the balloon.

When hydrogen is used for combustion, it is under enormous pressure and consequently requires a massive tank, but in a lighter than air application, there is minimal pressure, and the tank, and its mass are eliminated.  All you would need is a Mylar like envelope.

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On 7/28/2016 at 1:41 PM, Silk Purse said:

When hydrogen is used for combustion, it is under enormous pressure and consequently requires a massive tank, but in a lighter than air application, there is minimal pressure, and the tank, and its mass are eliminated.  All you would need is a Mylar like envelope.

Yeah that was very silly of me to say in my head i was thinking of the compressed H2 i have in my lab and not mylar filled balloons with lower than air density.. silly chemist.

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