Announced in 2014, the development of a unmanned aircraft called the Aquila. Aquila is made of carbon fiber that is stronger than steel & has a wing span wider than a Boeing, 737 with the weight only 880 pounds. Astonishing isn’t it?
Developed by Facebook’s Connectivity Labs, the prototype was constructed by Ascenta a Somerset, England-based company acquired by Facebook in 2014.Scale models of the Aquila were built and flown to prove the concept prior to the prototype being built.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook_Aquila
The Aquila prototype was disassembled and shipped to Arizona where it was first flown on 28 June 2016 and crashed as it was about to land, caused by a gust of wind making a 20 foot piece of its wing fall off. Then was later found successful, In November 2017 a partnership with Airbus was announced to further develop the Aquila. In 2018, it was reported that Facebook & Airbus have scheduled test flights in Australia. The upper surface of the wings are Solar Cells to power the Aircraft’s four batteries. Aquila solar-powered, high-altitude unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was to provide global internet access.
The development was stopped, Facebook stated that it’s ending a project to build the Aquila solar-powered. But I felt this is relevant to the upcoming developments in the near future, It makes me excited to see where the leaders take us with these advancements.