On August 25, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) announced that Korea’s first high-altitude solar unmanned aerial vehicle (EAV-3) had successfully finished a flight of 90 minutes in the stratosphere that 18.5 kilometers high on August 12. This made Korea become the third country in the world to master this kind of technology.
Prior to Korea, both the solar unmanned aerial vehicle Zephyr from the defense technology company Qinetiq in the United Kingdom, and the Helios from the unmanned aircraft manufacturer AeroVironment in the United States, have achieved a flight in the stratosphere that exceeds 18 kilometers.
Actually, many countries in the world are struggling to develop solar unmanned aerial vehicles to fly in the stratosphere, for there’re many advantages exist. For instance, the conversion of solar energy in the stratosphere is better than in the troposphere, because there’re few clouds and moderate wind. Also the stratosphere is not an air control zone, so there’re nearly no limitations for an aircraft. However, both the density and the temperature of the air in the stratosphere are so low that an aircraft will probably encounter big difficulties when flying.
How An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Will Benefit Korea
The KARI indicated that the government will allocate more resources to develop solar unmanned aerial vehicles in the near future. These solar unmanned aerial vehicles will undertake many different practical assignments like implementing real-time observation of the ground, obtaining data of the atmosphere, carrying on real-time video transmission, as well as observing the changes of weather.
In addition to the EAV-3, the KARI began the development of solar unmanned aerial vehicle as early as 2010, with the support of the Ministry of Future Creation and Science. It is reported that the institute has been working hard to develop many advanced technologies to ensure an unmanned aerial vehicle can fly smoothly at a high altitude with low temperature. These include the design of lightweight structures, high-performance propellers, precise navigation, etc. comment↓