Facebook Unveils Solar Drone that can beam the internet down to earth

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Facebook has unveiled  its first full-scale solar-powered internet drone that will deliver wireless internet with lasers from the sky in parts of the developing world to deliver high speed internet connectivity to hundreds-of-millions of people in far flung parts of the world. The drone is named  'Aquila' and is  part of the company's ambitious internet.org project

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has announced the completion of Aquila, Facebook’s first unmanned plane that beams down internet connectivity from the sky, as part of his project with Internet.org.

Created by the social network’s Connectivity Lab, Aquila has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car. The monocoque wing is constructed from a cured carbon fiber that has three times the strength of steel, but is lighter than aluminium.

The drone will fly at an altitude of around 90,000 feet during the day while the solar cells recharge Aquila’s batteries. At night, Aquila’s altitude will drop to 60,000 feet to take advantage of gravitational potential energy to consume less power. In both instances, the craft will be well above commercial air traffic and adverse weather

Mark Zuckerberg said the step 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"

Most important part of Aquila is free space laser communications, which will be used for transmitting data between a group of these aircraft. The system can transmit data at tens of billions of bits per second (Gbps). Facebook says "That's ten 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"

"Aquila” is also a constellation, named after the bird that carried Zeus' thunderbolts to battle in Greco-Roman mythology.

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