China debuts solar drone to reach the edge of space

China conducted a test of the QMX50 rocket over the weekend. Its mission will be to pave the way for solar-powered space missions.

China has successfully launched this weekend a large unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of reaching the edge of space, 100 kilometers in altitude, which is powered by solar energy.

The QMX50 flew for 26 minutes in a test in Yulin in northwest China’s Shaanxi province on Sept. 3, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country’s top aircraft maker, said.

All components of the aircraft system were in good condition after the successful inaugural flight, added this source, who did not specify the height reached during the journey.

The mission of the QMX50

It is the first high-altitude (20-100 km altitude) low-speed UAV with a super-high aspect ratio, the first large UAV model with a twin-fuselage configuration, and the first large all-electric UAV platform powered solely by solar energy developed by AVIC, according to the Chinese aircraft manufacturer, quoted by Xinhua.

The QMX50 large UAV can carry out long-duration, high-altitude flight missions by using efficient and environmentally friendly solar energy.

It can carry out various airborne missions, including high-altitude reconnaissance, forest fire monitoring, atmospheric environment monitoring, geographic mapping, and communication relay, among others.

The successful maiden flight of the QMX50 laid a solid foundation for the further development of large solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles, AVIC said, adding that it will help China ‘s development of new energy, composite materials and flight control technologies and improve its capabilities to carry out near-space missions. (EuropePress)