China’s biggest solar-powered drone has successfully completed its first test flight in the country’s northwest, state media reported on Monday.
Morning Star 50 took off from an airport in Shaanxi province at 5:50 pm on Saturday and landed 26 minutes later after a smooth flight, according to the official Science and Technology Daily.
Zhu, with the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China, said the drone could remain airborne for months or even years.
Unmanned aerial vehicles like Morning Star 50 are much cheaper and more flexible to launch and operate than satellites.
Its development will strengthen China’s defenses in space and it could also be used in conjunction with key technologies in fields such as renewable energy according to the report.
In 2018, China tested a 20-metre-wide, 18.9kg Morning Star drone made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic and mostly powered by solar energy.
More recently, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation last month tested its latest Rainbow-4 unmanned combat aircraft in a trial flight.
Aircraft makers in China are also trying to develop a telecommunications network based on unmanned aerial vehicles.