This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.

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

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.


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+)