QinetiQ just (unofficially) smashed the record for an unmanned flight by a solar airplane, sending its Zephyr craft into the air for a staggering 83 hours and 37 minutes, more than double the official record by "Global Hawk" in 2001, and a good margin more than its last flight. The plane was guided by autopilot and satellites to a height of 60,000 feet, and powers off the sun during the day, prepping its rechargeable lithium-sulphur batteries for the night. Zephyr is being built for reconnaissance, communications and unofficially setting really bad-ass flight records.
[Via USA TODAY]
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