SolAero Technologies announced an important product development and manufacturing collaboration with Bye Aerospace to power Bye's StratoAirNet solar-electric unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with SolAero's high-efficiency solar cells and flexible solar modules.
The StratoAirNet family of UAVs will provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to support commercial and government security requirements. The initial medium-altitude StratoAirNet 15 proof of concept prototype is undergoing final assembly. Following the successful preliminary design review process, flight tests were conducted on a small-scale wing powered by SolAero solar cells. Following further measurements and fit checks, additional test flights will soon commence on the 15-meter wing span prototype.
Since 2001, SolAero products have reliably powered nearly 200 successful satellite missions. SolAero holds the world record efficiency in space solar cells with 50+ patents and disclosures for their 33.0% efficient Inverted Metamorphic (IMM) technology. The IMM solar cell technology offers the highest available power density of any solar cell currently in production with more than 350 W/m2.
"SolAero is one of the world's leading providers of advanced space solar power solutions," said George Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace. "The superior performance of their solar cells will make the benefits of StratoAirNet even more compelling, allowing the airplane to fly at higher altitudes with almost unlimited flight endurance. We appreciate SolAero's collaboration with our team and look forward to working together to demonstrate a remarkable pseudo-satellite aircraft capability that many have said is unachievable."
"We are very excited about our partnership with Bye Aerospace and the future opportunities of the solar-powered StratoAirNet family of UAVs," said Brad Clevenger, CEO of SolAero Technologies. "The combination of our advanced solar cell technology and integration expertise with the wide range of capabilities of the StratoAirNet UAV family will help usher in a new era of long endurance middle and high altitude commercial and defense UAVs."
Bye said potential commercial mission applications for StratoAirNet include communications relay, internet service, mapping, search and rescue, firefighting command and control, anti-poaching monitoring, damage assessment, severe weather tracking, agriculture monitoring ("precision ag"), mineral source surveying, spill detection and infrastructure quality assessment.