Life On Earth
Boeing's Hydrogen Powered Drone Makes First Flight
Boeing have recently been working on PhantomEye - a spy drone that would be able to fly four-day recon missions running on hydrogen power and only generating water as a waste product.
Even though Boeing still have to do a tremendous amount of work before they achieve that goal, the first significant step has been made on June 1st as the huge helicopter-sized drone took off from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. It climbed to an altitude of 4080 feet, achieving speeds of up to 62 knots, with the whole flight lasting a whole 30 minutes. That may not seem so impressive, but the Boeing officials were ecstatic that the contraption was able to take off at all and they are confident that they will eventually perfect it to a point where it can fly for four days at a time at an altitude of 65000 feet. It's also able to carry 450 pounds of ordinance if required, but its main objective is intelligence.
Military spending is something that's very easy to see as evil, but it contributes to technological advancements - there would be no nuclear power without the nuclear bomb and no Internet without DARPA. If the PhantomEye's unique, virtually wasteless hydrogen-based propulsion system could be applied to civilian aircraft and maybe even ground vehicles, that would be a huge step towards making travel more environmentally friendly because hydrogen is much more cost effective than gasoline.
By Denis Ivanov
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