China’s large solar-powered drone

China’s massive unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) only powered by solar energy successfully completed its inaugural flight on the weekend, China Media Group reported.

The UAV is called “Qimingxing-50,” which means “Morning star-50” in English It was created by an affiliate of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

The drone took off around 5:50 p.m. and flew for 26 minutes before landing safely around 6.16 p.m. in China’s northwest region of Yulin City, Shaanxi Province. It was found to be in excellent state, with all systems functioning normally, indicating an excellent success for the pilot’s first flight.

“Qimingxing-50” is the first high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV designed by AVIC. These UAVs generally operate at altitudes of 15-20 kilometers at low speed. This is also the first large UAV equipped with a double fuselage design.

The drone is completely electric and similar to a satellite can fly at high altitudes for an extended period of time, continuously powered by solar energy that is clean and safe.

It can be used for tasks like high-altitude reconnaissance and forest fire monitoring. It also performs monitors the atmospheric environment, geo mapping, and relaying communications.