Magazine article Technology and Children

Kite-Like Airplane Breaks Altitude Record. (the Space Place)

Magazine article Technology and Children

Kite-Like Airplane Breaks Altitude Record. (the Space Place)

Article excerpt

It's a sunny day, with just a breath of wind, and you're trying to get your new kite to fly. You wish the silly thing had a motor on it! You notice people are pointing up in the sky, and then you see the ultimate remote-controlled aircraft--Helios.

Helios is one giant wing, 247 feet long. It has 14 propellers. Small motors run the propellers. Solar cells collect the sun's energy to power the airplane. Helios is so quiet when it flies, you'd hardly know it was there! It flies very slowly, but can go higher than any other airplane. Helios is the name of the sun god from Greek mythology.

Last August, Helios broke the record for highest flight by an aircraft. It flew to an altitude of 96,863 feet. That's two miles higher than the previous record-holder, the SR-71 spy plane--the fastest jet in the world. Only rockets and rocket-powered airplanes have gone higher.

NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology Program (ERAST) develops "remotely piloted uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs)." UAVs don't carry people or cargo. …

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