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Facebook's First-Ever Drone Flight is a Success

Plans to connect the 4 billion people without internet.

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Facebook has successfully completed the first test flight of its solar-powered Aquila drone, beaming connectivity to a remote part of Arizona.

The social network eventually wants to create a fleet of aircraft so more people across the world can get online, and it called Thursday's 96-minute trial in the US a "big milestone".

Aquila, a boomerang-shaped aircraft, can fly at 60,000 feet on about 5,000 watts of power, or "about as much as three hair dryers", for as long as three months at a time.

[youtube ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOez_Hk80TI[/youtube]

The drone was put together by Facebook's team from Ascenta – a small drone maker from Somerset, UK – which Facebook acquired in March 2014.

Facebook's global head of engineering and infrastructure Jay Parikh, said: "Internet access can offer life-changing opportunities and experiences to all of us, but there are still 4bn people without it.

"As many as 1.6bn of those unconnected people live in remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks, where implementing existing network technologies is so challenging and costly that it will take years to bring everyone affordable access."

Of course, Facebook isn't the only major tech firm planning to beam the internet to cut-off areas of the world. Google's parent company Alphabet is planning to do the same thing but using high-altitude balloons.

Via