Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsAirplanes

Science File | IN BRIEF

NASA Tests New Plane Powered by Laser Beam

October 11, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

NASA has built and flown a remote-controlled plane powered from the ground by the beam of an invisible laser.

In indoor flights conducted last month at a NASA center in Alabama, the plane flew lap after lap, gliding to a landing once the laser beam was turned off, the agency said Thursday.

While in flight, the laser tracked the 11-ounce, 5-foot-wingspan plane, striking the photovoltaic cells that powered the tiny motor that turned its lone propeller.

Scientists envision flying the planes on long-duration flights to monitor the environment. The planes also could be used for surveillance or to provide communications links.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|