AoC number


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Secondary domain



High-altitude solar-powered UAVs called “atmospheric satellites” are being proposed. The aircraft are designed to fly up to 65,000ft (19,800m) altitude and remain there for up to weeks at a time, sustained by a ultra-long, high-aspect-ratio wings and a single large battery-powered propeller, itself powered by thousands of high-efficiency solar cells placed on virtually every possible surface.

DARPA’s Vulture program calls for developing technologies and ultimately a vehicle that can deliver and maintain an airborne payload on station for an uninterrupted period of more than five years using a fixed-wing aircraft. Boeing is teaming with United Kingdom-based QinetiQ Ltd. for the program.

The Vulture vehicle’s goal is to be capable of carrying a 1,000-pound, 5-kilowatt payload and have a 99 percent probability of maintaining its on-station position.

Potential hazard

Hazard mapping is nearly identical to AoC 100 Increasing operations of military and civilian unmanned aerial systems in shared military, civilian, and special use airspace, and is related to AoC 187 Shift in responsibility for separation assurance from ATC to flight crew, AoC 93 Increasing reliance on satellite-based systems for Communications, Navigations, and Surveillance (CNS) Air Traffic Management functions, and AoC 148 Increasing frequency of hostile acts against the aviation system

Corroborating sources and comments

AUVSI: Titan Aerospace unveils ‘atmospheric satellites’;

April 2008, Boeing Awarded DARPA Contract to Develop Ultra-Long-Endurance Aircraft Technologies;

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