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China's Rainbow solar-powered UAV made first high-altitude flight test

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - China
 
 
China's Rainbow solar-powered UAV made first high-altitude flight test
 
According to a video released by the Chinese independent global video news agency CCTV+ , the Rainbow solar UAV produced by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) made its first high-altitude flght test.
     
     
The UAV reached an altitude of 20 km (65,000 ft), an altitude above where commercial airliners fly, but below orbiting satellites. The Chinese vehicle has a wingspan of more than 40 meters. It has eight propellers installed on the front of the wings fully covered by solar panels.

Such a vehicle is commonly referred to as an "atmospheric satellite" in that it can function as a low-orbit satellite to a certain extent. According to CAAA, the unmanned aerial vehicle will be used mostly for airborne early warning systems, aerial reconnaissance, disaster monitoring, meteorological observation and relay communications.

CAAA is a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Its principal mission is to test the aerodynamic performance of China's aerial and aerospace vehicles, including rockets, space modules and atmospheric reentry-vehicles.

(Source: China.org)

     
CAAA's Rainbow solar-powered UAV scale model unveiled at Zhuhai Air Show 2016
     
The Rainbow UAV taking off for its first high-altitude flight
(Credit: CCTV+)