The Global Observer - Hydrogen Gets Airborne

Last month a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) made a High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) flight powered by liquid hydrogen. The prototype fifty-foot wingspan aircraft stayed up for a hour on the test flights, but if we read the press release correctly, the developers are suggesting the Global Observer, once in production (in about 2 years time) could remain aloft for a whole week, carrying a payload of 1,000lbs (454kg). It would seem that this aircraft has mostly military applications in mind but other more benign uses are also forecast, such as: "hurricane/storm tracking, weather monitoring, and wildfire detection/support" as well as use for mapping, agriculture and telecommunications. ::Aerovironment