China’s NIMTE tests its stratospheric drone 

The stratospheric drone developed by the Special Aircraft Systems Engineering Research Center (Special Aircraft Center) of the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE) was tested in Baoding city, Hebei province, China.

China’s NIMTE tests its stratospheric drone 

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The drone took off and flew smoothly; in good condition, the aerodynamic layout and overall scheme met the intended design goals, according to NIMTE.

A stratospheric drone is a type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that cruises for a long time at an altitude of about 20 kilometers. With its unique high-altitude operation capabilities, it has advantages over traditional aircraft and satellites in terms of long-term monitoring, communication relay, scientific research observation, etc. Also known as high-altitude pseudolites, stratospheric drones have been a focus of aeronautical research for 30 years. Since its establishment in 2021, the Special Aircraft Center has closely followed the needs of the national air, space and ocean strategy, with the goal of building a new maritime information platform. Its aim is to learn and explore new deployment methods and technical paths for stratospheric airships and solar drones.

The Special Aircraft Center formally established a stratospheric special development team in January 2024, focusing on breakthroughs in innovative technologies such as modular composite fuselage structures, low-temperature resistant high power-to-mass ratio lithium batteries, vacuum motors, pop-up propellers, etc. The project team developed the first flight prototype for low-altitude testing in just 3 months and successfully conducted a test flight.

Cover photo: NIMTE – NIMTE’s stratospheric drone

More information www.nimte.ac.cn