Google Internet UAS Crashed May 1


Google has just confirmed that one of its prototype solar-powered Internet UAS crashed a month ago near Albuquerque. The aircraft, which looks like a giant glider, is designed to fly above the weather at 60,000 feet and send wireless Internet connectivity from the sky. The UAS was first built by Titan Aerospace (under CEO Vern Raburn, Eclipse Aviation founder) but the company was bought by Google. The Solara 50 UAS crashed May 1 shortly after takeoff from a private airport in Moriarty, New Mexico, about 30 miles east of Albuquerque. Google didn’t mention the crash until news leaked out. The NTSB is reportedly investigating but hasn’t published a preliminary report yet.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne said the mishap, which did not injure anyone on the ground, is a consequence of developing new technology. “Although our prototype plane went down during a recent test, we remain optimistic about the potential of solar-powered planes to help deliver connectivity,” said Hohne. “Part of building a new technology is overcoming hurdles along the way.” The value of the aircraft was not released. Google wants to launch a fleet of long-endurance aerial platforms beaming Internet signals to earth as part of its market expansion plans. It’s also experimenting with high-altitude helium balloons.