Solar Powered Drone Gets NASA Approval for Test Flight At Edwards Air Force Base

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“HAPSMobile Inc. (“HAPSMobile”), a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) and minority-owned by AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), has received a limited flight release from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC), Airworthiness and Flight Safety Review Board to conduct a test flight of the HAWK30 aircraft in restricted airspace. AFRC is responsible to ensure ground and range safety for the HAWK30 aircraft during this flight test series,” says a press release.”

With this approval, HAPSMobile plans to conduct its first test flight of the HAWK30, a solar-powered unmanned aircraft to provide a stratospheric telecommunications platform system.”

The potential for high altitude solar powered drones is significant.  Depending on payload, they could be used for multiple purposes: but providing telecommunications to all areas of the globe is a significant and potentially world-changing goal.

Junichi Miyakawa, Representative Director & CTO of SoftBank Corp., and also President & CEO of HAPSMobile Inc., said, “We are extremely pleased to receive NASA’s official test flight approval, which will enable us to take a major step forward to commercially use the stratosphere. We will conduct a test flight rapidly at AFRC so we can prepare for stratospheric test flights in Lanai. We will continue to work toward our goal of bridging the world’s digital divide and revolutionizing mobile networks by leveraging HAPS.”

About HAPSMobile

HAPSMobile Inc. is a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO:9434) that plans and operates a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business with the aim of bridging the world’s digital divide. HAPSMobile is primarily engaged in network equipment research and development for the HAPS business, construction of core networks, new business planning and activities for spectrum usage. AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) is HAPSMobile’s minority owner and aircraft development partner for “HAWK30,” a solar-powered unmanned aircraft designed for stratospheric telecommunications platform systems. HAPSMobile has a strategic relationship with Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. For more information, please visit https://www.hapsmobile.com.



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