US-based Air-launch startup Aevum unveiled the biggest drone in the world. Known as Ravn X, this drone is designed to carry and launch satellites into low-orbit.
World’s first satellite launching drone
RAVN-X is autonomously operated, so it does not require a pilot or a launchpad. After flight testing, it will go for its first mission in 2021, which will be for the US Space Force. The firm says it is ‘completely reimagining access to space’.
Jay Skylus, founder and CEO of Aevum, said, “We are pushing logistics to the next generation with software and automation technologies,”
Following are some of its features:
- It can launch satellites to space as fast as every 180 minutes.
- RavnX is about 80 ft. long and 18 ft. tall.
- Having a wingspan of 60 ft., this massive drone weighs about 55,000 lbs.
- It can take off and land on runways as short as a mile long.
- This massive drone uses the same jet fuel as airplanes use.
- It will be able to carry a new payload into orbit every 180 minutes
- Ravn X, is fully autonomous and is 70 percent reusable.
- The drone can take off from any runway to reach high altitude.
- After launching the second stage rocket into low Earth orbit, the drone flies itself back and then parks up in its hanger.
- It requires 8,000 square feet of hangar space to rest.
- This drone can carry satellites weighing up to 500kg fully autonomously with no costly infrastructure.
Skylus said, “Through our autonomous technologies, Aevum will shorten the lead time of launches from years to months, and when our customers demand it, minutes. This is necessary to improve lives on Earth. This is necessary to save lives.”