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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Facebook Completes Construction on Aquila UAS

Juliet Van Wagenen

Facebook’s completed Aquila UAS
Facebook’s completed Aquila UAS. Photo: Facebook

[Avionics Today 08-06-2015] Facebook has completed construction of its first full-scale Aquila Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) as part of its Internet.org effort, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on his Facebook page. 

Aquila is a solar powered unmanned plane that beams down Internet connectivity from the sky. According to Facebook, the aircraft has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car and can stay in the air for months at a time. 

The company also announced a breakthrough in laser communications technology.

“We've successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second. That's 10 times faster than any previous system, and it can accurately connect with a point the size of a dime from more than 10 miles away,” Zuckerberg said. “This effort is important because 10 percent of the world’s population lives in areas without existing Internet infrastructure. To affordably connect everyone, we need to build completely new technologies.”

Over the coming months, Facebook will test and refine the Aquila UAS as well as the laser communications system.

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