Powered by the sun

The science behind a new solar-powered aircraft being developed by British engineers
Our engineers are working on an innovative new aircraft called PHASA-35 (Pseudo High Altitude Long Endurance - 35) that can fly above the clouds at 60,000ft which is  twice the height at which passenger aircraft fly.
 
PHASA-35 can stay in the air for up to a year at a time
 
PHASA-35 is solar powered, harvesting energy from the Sun and converting this into electrical power.  Producing zero emissions, PHASA-35 is a great example of sustainable innovation by British engineers.  The aircraft has been designed, built and flown in less than 20 months in a collaboration between technology SME Prismatic and BAE Systems.  
 
The aircraft could be used for a host of civil, commercial and military applications ranging from the provision of internet to remote areas, surveillance over large forest areas right through to military surveillance activities.   It offers a more affordable and persistent alternative to existing satellite and aircraft capabilities. 
 
You can find out more about this incredible new aircraft in our Series on Science videos which explain some of the fascinating facts and the marvellous maths that make PHASA-35 such a high flyer. 
 
PHASA-35 is a great example of what engineers and technologists can do when they understand science and apply that know-how to finding new solutions to problems. 
 

Watch the Series on Science