Thursday, August 20, 2009
Vulture - Unmanned Aircraft
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of United States is working to develop an unmanned aircraft that is able to stay in air for a period of 5 years at a time. It is one of the most recent inventions of world.
Officials of DARPA has revealed that this aircraft will be known as VULTURE due to its Persistent Pseudo-Satellite Capability . It means that this aircraft will be able to fly over a single area, communicating or performing analysis for years at a time.
Major Obstacles in Project:
Even this project looks appealing to many of you, but there are some serious problems or you can say obstacles in achieving this project.
1) First challenge in front of designers is to figure out some Way to Supply Power to this aircraft during long missions.
2) Another problem is that this aircraft will carry a 1000 pound (450 kg) payload in winds at an altitude of 60,000 to 90,000 feet.
3) Designers have also to sort out the problems regarding Deterioration of Materials during their long-time exposure to stratospheric flight.
In addition to this there may be many challenges during designing of this aircraft.
Daniel Newman: The Man Behind VULTURE
Daniel Newman is the Project Manger of this ambitious project of NASA. In his words: "We want to completely change the paradigm of how we think of aircraft. Aviation has a perfect record - we've never left one up there. We will attempt to break that record". It looks that its time to get out of the traditional "launch - recover - maintain - launch cycle of aircrafts."
Concept Behind Vulture:
Basically Aircrafts operates just like satellites, but the major difference is that these are not regulated by orbital mechanics. You can understand Vulture as a Pseudo-Satellite, which operates in the stratosphere and not in the low Earth orbit. This would provide a 65 dB upgrading in communications capability and will increase onboard sensor resolution.
When Will it Become a Reality?
Well, right now NASA has not mentioned any time table when the aircraft will be ready. But for now NASA has worked on the probable design of Vulture (see picture).