SCIENCE!: Kite-Surfing in the Stratosphere

SCIENCE!: Kite-Surfing in the Stratosphere


>>WHAT WE’RE DOING IS LOOKING AT ESSENTIALLY A TWIST ON THAT. THE CONCEPT HERE INVOLVES TWO SOLAR AIRPLANES WHICH ARE CONNECTED AND THEY USE THE PRINCIPLES OF SAILING TO AVOID USING PROPULSION AND STAY ALOFT.>>WELL HERE WE HAVE THE FIRST AIRPLANE OF THE DUAL AIRCRAFT PLATFORM PROJECT. WE’VE NICKNAMED IT “T1” FOR “TEST ONE”. THIS AIRPLANE WILL EVENTUALLY BECOME THE SAIL OR THE UPPER AIRCRAFT. THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS AIRPLANE AND STOCK AIRPLANE IS THE CONTROLLER SETUP THAT YOU SEE MOUNTED ON THE TOP OF THE FUSELAGE HERE.>>THIS IS THE FLIGHT DYNAMICS AND CONTROL RESEARCH LAB. WE DEVELOPED THESE NEW ALGORITHMS. THERE IS A WAY WE CAN TEST FIRST IN SIMULATION BEFORE WE CAN GO FARTHER IN THE HARDWARE IMPLEMENTATION.>>THE MAIN PURPOSE FOR THIS IS TO GIVE PILOTS A SENSE OF HOW IS IT GOING TO BE IN REAL LIFE.>>AERODYNAMICALLY IT’S A MASSIVE CHALLENGE. THE CONTROLS PROBLEM OF HAVING TWO AIRPLANES CONNECTED TOGETHER IS UNPRECEDENTED AND SOME SAY IMPOSSIBLE. AND TO ME, THAT JUST MAKES ME WANT MORE TO FIND OUT.>>AND IT’S KIND OF NEAT KNOWING THAT IDEAS THAT WE CAME UP WITH MAY SHAPE THE FUTURE OF ATMOSPHERIC SATELLITES.

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