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Facebook Internet drone Aquila passes first full-scale test (Adapted from The Hindu, Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper III, Topic: Science and Technology)

Solar powered Aquila drone
Facebook announced that it had completed its first successful test of its solar-powered Aquila drone, being develop to deliver internet service to remote areas of the world.

Significance of the Test
The test flight represents a “major milestone” for Facebook’s efforts to bring the internet to underserved locations of the planet.
Facebook had conducted previous test flights using a one-fifth scale version of Aquila for several months, but this was the first time using the full-scale aircraft, which has a wingspan greater than that of a 737 passenger jet.

Challenge to Aquila
To reach goal of being able to fly over a remote region and deliver connectivity for up to three months at time, Facebook will need to break the world record for solar-powered unmanned flight, which currently stands at two weeks. This will require significant advancements in science and engineering to achieve.

Access of internet around the world
Internet access can offer life-changing opportunities and experiences to all of us, but there are still four billion people without it. That’s 60 percent of the global population. As many as 1.6 billion of those unconnected people live in remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks, where implementing existing network technologies is so challenging and costly that it will take years to bring everyone affordable access.



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