Two years ago, Facebook bought a small British buisness called Ascenta, which manufactured solar powered drones, why?
The goal was that with these drones they could provide an internet connection to remote places that wouldnt have access. This drone would go for months at a time, flying worldwide, beaming down an opportunity to connect with the world.
The drone itself can fly for an aimed 3 months at a time and fly at varying altitudes between 60,000 and 90,000 feet. It also has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 which if you dont know what that looks like…
How does it work?
Firstly, drones with solar panels are sent arounf 18-27km into the stratosphere. Then they will form a chain obsorbing sunlight to power the engines and internet equipment. Next, Data is sent from the grounf to one aircraft via a radio frequency or laser, which then transmits internet signals via laser to other drones. Finally, the drones send internet signlas to users on the ground via radio frequency signals. The batteries are replenished by the solar power enough so that the drone can fly through the night. Funnily enough the batteries make up around half the weight of the whole drone.
Some countries are rejecting this drone however. India declined the offer from Facebook that allowed citezens a limited free web access. However, rejections like these are not stirring Facebook away from their goal.
So remember to keep your eyes open for the giant flying free wifi station. That being said, it would be pretty difficult to miss.