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Facebook Tests Solar Unmanned Aircraft To Beam Internet Through Drones

Facebook's drone will offer Web access in places not yet connected with internet. On 24 July 2016, it completed its first test flight successfully

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You may have pondered many times that social media giant Facebook is concerned with building your social network. But let's put it this way. They are concerned about your internet connectivity more than anything else!

Achieving the milestone
Taking the help of Drones, Facebook has designed a solar unmanned aircraft which will beam internet to places not yet connected with internet. On July 24th 2016, it completed its first test flight successfully.

The prototype of the 'Aquila' drone landed safely after a 90-minute flight over Arizona in what the social network described as a "big milestone" in its plan to connect the world.

Aquila is a solar-powered, unmanned plane designed to circle an area 60 miles in diameter, reaching some of the 4 billion people that don't have internet access.

The technology that powers the drone, which beams a signal down from a 60,000-foot height using lasers and millimeter wave systems, was developed by the Somerset-based company Ascenta, which Facebook bought for around £12.5 million in 2014.

The Hyper-Efficient design

Speed: Aquila can fly for up to three months at a stretch. The aircraft has the wingspan of an airliner and runs at a cruising speed.

Energy: It will consume only 5,000 watts - the same amount as three hair dryers, or a high-end microwave.

Weight:
Currently tested aircraft just has 1/6th of the weight of the actual prototype. To prove the full capacity of the design, Aquila need to be pushed to the limit and a lengthy series of tests need to be carried out in the coming months.

Others working on similar lines- Innovative Internet

The social network company Facebook, isn't the only company with a mission to get more people online. Google is working on a similar plan called Project Loon that is trying to beam the internet to rural Asia with giant space balloons.

Even Microsoft is trying to connect places deprived of the internet and their project is called White spaces. Which shall work for a large population too. Receiving Wifi connectivity 10 km would also become possible. Buying the Doordarshan's spectrum for India, they are trying to build the digital infrastructure for the masses.


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