Airbus’ giant, ultralight, ultra-high-endurance Zephyr S drone has stayed aloft for longer than any unmanned aircraft in history – and its success could bring new capabilities for maritime surveillance and GPS-like positioning.
Zephyr S is a 150-pound, hand-launched drone built for high-altitude operations. It flies in its own sky at 80,000 feet, far from commercial traffic and immune to the vagaries of the weather. Its 80-foot wingspan and solar-cell power are enough to keep it aloft for weeks at a stately pace of 30 knots. Read on.