Aerovironment Global Observer Makes Hydrogen-Powered Flight

Monrovia-based Aerovironment, which manufactures unmanned aircraft systems for the U.S. military, said today that the firm's Global Observer, endurance unmanned aircraft system has completed its first hydrogen-powered flight. The first flight was conducted at Edwards Air Force Base. Aerovironment's Global Observer is designed to provide continuous communications and coverage for the military, providing communications and remote imaging support similar to satellites, but for a much lower cost. The aircraft is designed to operate for a week at a time at very high altitudes--55,000 to 65,000 feet. The firm's development of the Global Observer is being funded by more than $140M from six government agencies.