Typically for sending space satellitescarrier rockets are used to orbit the Earth. These missions cost billions of dollars and are often postponed due to inappropriate weather conditions. Therefore, various companies are trying to come up with a less expensive and weather-dependent way of putting satellites into orbit. Recently, the American firm Aevum developed the Ravn X aircraft, which can be considered the largest drone. It was created specifically for sending small satellites into low-earth orbit and is capable of doing this in any weather, every three hours. In addition, it is controlled remotely, without a pilot on board. This means that no one can get hurt during such a mission, and the cost will be minimal. But what else is interesting about the Ravn X device?
The largest drone in the world
Details about the aircraft sharededition of New Atlas. Usually flying drones and drones are presented to us as compact devices. Using them, people usually shoot beautiful videos from a bird's eye view, and companies deliver packages to their customers. But the Ravn X is designed for more serious work and can really be called a giant. The length of the aircraft body is 24 meters, the height is 5.5 meters, and the wingspan is 18 meters. The takeoff weight of the drone is 25 tons, that is, it can lift scientific equipment without any problems.
For takeoff and landing of the device, a strip of lengthonly 1.6 kilometers. Considering that some of the runways are 5.5 kilometers long, this is very impressive. For flights, the Ravn X device uses regular aviation fuel, so there is no need to establish fuel production. The cost of launching cargo using a drone is still unknown. But there is already evidence that Aevum has successfully signed a contract for the launch of small space satellites. Perhaps, soon we will already know the details of the first launch and may even be able to follow it live.
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Putting satellites into orbit
The launch of satellites into near-earth orbit will beproceed as follows. The aircraft will develop speed on the runway and take off like a normal plane. Then he will rise to a great height, but which one is not yet clear. Typically, an air launch, in which missiles are launched by aircraft, occurs at an altitude of 100 kilometers. Most likely, the Ravn X device is already capable of this. Upon reaching the required altitude, a small carrier with cargo will separate from the aircraft. The satellite capsule will be sent into low-earth orbit, and the Ravn X spacecraft will return to earth. In three hours he will be able to take out the next load.
In 2015 it became known that an emergencythe accident happened through the fault of the pilot. After watching the video from the cockpit, the experts found out that Michael Elsbury unlocked the tail booms of the vehicle earlier than required. Due to this error, the aircraft began to fall apart. Michael died in the crash, and co-pilot Peter Siebold managed to eject. He survived but suffered serious injuries.
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On our site there are many interesting articles aboutunmanned aerial vehicles. And some of them are full of secrets. For example, in early 2020, I talked about a swarm of drones seen over the US state of Colorado. Many people had no idea who they belonged to and what they were for. But very interesting assumptions were put forward, which can be found out at this link.