We're proud to announce the successful first test flight of Aquila, the solar airplane we designed to bring Internet access to people living in remote locations. We look forward to the rest of the journey toward making the world more open and connected.
The Connectivity Lab at Facebook is tasked with developing ways to make affordable internet access possible in communities around the world. The team is exploring a variety of technologies, including high-altitude long-endurance planes, satellites and lasers.
The Aquila Unmanned Aircraft is designed to soar above 60,000 feet. Its tailless design and enormous wingspan will allow it to float almost effortlessly, while its solar cells and super-efficient motors will let it stay airborne for months. Invisible infrared laser beams that flicker on and off billions of times per second are able to send data at fiber-optic speeds using very little power. Using this laser technology Facebook can connect and feed internet to an entire constellation of Aquila aircraft.
Take a look at the video below...