Global Observer, one more step towards the skies

Global Observer, one more step towards the skies

A few days ago, Global Observer, an UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) manufactured by AeroVironment in cooperation with NASA, as just taken a vital step forward during its development phase.

In fact, the drone has just completed a series of wing load tests, at NASA’s research center in Dryden, which have been successfully completed and have certified that its wings, with their 50-meter wingspan, can withstand the dynamic stress that they will encounter when flying at altitudes ranging from 17000 to 2000 meters.

What is Global Observer?

Global Observer is a HALE (High Altitude, Long Endurance) type aerial vehicle, capable of staying in the air for up to a week at the time, thanks to its engine powered by liquid hydrogen, and to monitor a circular area of over 170 thousand square kilometers, with a diameter of approximately 1000 kilometers, thanks to the video, photo and satellite positioning technology mounted on board, which would transmit the result of its monitoring job to a receiving station on the ground.

The data gathered can be used either for military surveillance, or to provide support to people affected by a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake or a flooding. While waiting for ground rescuers, Global Observer can in fact start mapping the place, to prepare an overview of the struck area and optimize the rescuers’ job, as well as functioning as a flying antenna to provide communications coverage.

The Global observer project, funded with more than 120 million dollars coming from the US Department of Defense, should achieve results by the end of year 2011, when the first completed plane should enter service. For now the wings are ready… on with the rest now!

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