Scientists and engineers are taking giant leaps in technology and exploring new techniques while refining the existing ones. Among many other problems that we are facing as residents of Earth, perhaps the most pressing matter is that of energy. We are almost out of the natural energy reserves and now we are working hard to come up with renewable energy sources that can be harnessed as per our requirement. Among these sources, we are mainly concerned with solar; solar powered cars, solar powered homes and the highlight of this post – solar powered airplane.
At the HQ of Titan Aerospace, engineers are busy in manufacturing Solara. What is Solara? It is a line of solar powered airplanes, which are capable of staying in flight for years. Do we have your attention now? What would be the best thing to have in case of a zombie apocalypse? Yes, you guessed it right. An airplane from Solara series will help you remain in air for as long as ‘The Fallen’ does not take out the sun from our sky.
Diving into specs of this amazing airplane; Solara 50, the first of the Solara series, will come equipped with almost 3,000 photovoltaic cells that will spread out on the wing span which measures up to 50 meters. The aircraft has been designed to reach a height of 20 km into the stratosphere while carrying a small payload. The air in this region is rather calm and that is quite favorable for our plane. The family of Solara is usually referred to as atmospheric satellites. The reason; they’re able to carry out a lot of tasks which normal satellites do. These tasks include; providing broadband services, aerial photographs and many other. However, the only exception is that you can have them brought down, upgraded and launched again. The price is also quite low when you compare it to that of a satellite. Other than these services, Solara can also be used for patrolling the borders, keeping a check on ozone layer and to enhance cellular service as well.
Vern Raburn, Titan’s CEO, said; ‘Trying to find a customer to sell this airplane to isn’t going to be a problem for us.’ According to him, the first complete demo will be carried out later this year and if everything goes as planned, the plane will be on sale in 2015.
Titan is not the first company to attempt such a plan. However, it may very well become the first company to come up with a reliable system that can be made commercial. Usually, the issue with such planes was limited photovoltaic energy storage owing to limited battery that was available and then, there were issues regarding the strength of plane. An aerospace engineer, Kevin Jones, said; ‘If you look at the history of these projects, you’ll notice almost all were destroyed because they flew through a little bit of weather.’
Speaking about how the technological advancement has made it possible for Solara to be produced Raburn said; ‘It’s the classic confluence of technologies.’ However, Kevin still has doubts about keeping the planes up in the air for years. Still, fingers crossed for the next feat of technology which will be amazing to say the least.