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Facebook Aquila UAV Project - Surveillance at 60-90K feet? Next Level tech here...

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posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:34 PM
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Shocked I have not seen this posted here yet, but this is seriously a crazy project. It is Facebook's Aquila project.



AT AN AIRFIELD somewhere in the UK, there’s a drone with the wingspan of a Boeing 737. And it belongs to Facebook.

This enormous unmanned aerial vehicle is called Aquila—a nod to the eagle who carried Zeus’s thunder bolts in Greek mythology—and it’s part of Facebook’s rather ambitious effort to deliver Internet access to the more than 4 billion people on earth who don’t already have it. The idea is that Aquila will circle in the stratosphere, above the weather, wirelessly beaming Internet signals to base stations in underdeveloped areas of countries like Nigeria and India.

Earlier this year, the company tested smaller models of this aircraft, and now, according to Facebook’s Yael Maguire, who oversees the project, the company is ready to test the full-size Aquila prototype. “The aircraft is real,” he tells WIRED, before a briefing with other reporters at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Though as wide as a 737, the drone weighs hundreds of times less than the commercial airliner, thanks to a carbon-fiber frame. The goal, Maguire says, is to reach a point where the drone can stay aloft for 90 days at an altitude of between 60,000 and 90,000 feet. “We think this is a very ambitious goal, given that the world record, as far as we can tell, is about two weeks.”

Meanwhile, at a lab in Woodland Hills, California, another group of Facebook engineers is developing new laser networking technologies that can help the drone beam its Internet signals down to earth. According to Maguire, the group has designed and tested a laser that can deliver data at “10s of Gbits per second,” hitting a target the size of a dime at a distance of 10 miles.


Source



Ok, now that is some seriously advanced tech. I also love that it look insanely similar to the flying v shaped aircraft that is always reported as a UFO.

Now, at 60-90k feet in the air with the capability to stay up for 90 days, are these going to be used by US intelligence agencies for gathering info, or for their stated use of bringing internet to the masses....a bit of a rhetorical question.

So from the video you can see that they plan on basically putting up multiples of these that all communicate to each other and fly over any country, stay aloft for 90 days and I would think will be virtually unable to be tracked by anyone not with the access to track them from FB.

They state in the video 40KM propagation with a 12KM tracking ability by laser......and in the source article they say it can pinpoint a dime sized target at 16KM.

This seems like a new era of "spying" to me. On one hand I think it is a REALLY cool project, but on the other, I already know it will be used for purposes other than stated...there is always a gain for the company that owns it, not the people.

Thoughts ATS?
edit on 9/29/15 by Vasa Croe because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:38 PM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

Satellite surveillance has been around for a long time....



www.surveillanceissues.com...

That's how they know where to fly those drones.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:41 PM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

They're easily tracked as they'll be required to have transponders broadcasting.

The government already has surveillance UAVs that can loiter days. The problem with staying too long is that you either put the data on magnetic storage to be analyzed upon return and risk not getting the data back if it crashes or is found and shot down, or you broadcast it and risk the signal being detected, giving away the location of the aircraft.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:43 PM
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originally posted by: olaru12
a reply to: Vasa Croe

Satellite surveillance has been around for a long time....



www.surveillanceissues.com...

That's how they know where to fly those drones.



I know satellite surveillance has been around for a long time...this is very different and able to move without a specified orbit with pinpoint accuracy....this is a very different beast than satellite.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:44 PM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

And leaving an aircraft over a potentially hostile aircraft for months at a time is insane.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:44 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Vasa Croe

They're easily tracked as they'll be required to have transponders broadcasting.

The government already has surveillance UAVs that can loiter days. The problem with staying too long is that you either put the data on magnetic storage to be analyzed upon return and risk not getting the data back if it crashes or is found and shot down, or you broadcast it and risk the signal being detected, giving away the location of the aircraft.


Good points!!! I had not thought of that when it comes to long term flight surveillance drones... Star for you mate!



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:45 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Vasa Croe

They're easily tracked as they'll be required to have transponders broadcasting.

The government already has surveillance UAVs that can loiter days. The problem with staying too long is that you either put the data on magnetic storage to be analyzed upon return and risk not getting the data back if it crashes or is found and shot down, or you broadcast it and risk the signal being detected, giving away the location of the aircraft.


Yeah, the reason I found the story is because I was reading an article on Extreme Data Centers from the Register and this was listed as one, so likely it has plenty of storage on board. But it can also transfer data to the ground at speeds of 10Gb/sec and pinpoint a dime size target for transfer at 16KM...unless you knew exactly where to look wouldn't it be hard to find that?

That article is here: 10 Extreme Data Centers

Pretty interesting article as well.

Oh, and the scary thing about it to me is that this ISN'T the government putting it up there....it is a corporation that has been known to work with government.
edit on 9/29/15 by Vasa Croe because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:50 PM
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Is it really good to have a very large UAV flying over populated areas? Just wait till they lose control of one, which they will do sooner or later, and it crashes into houses and kills a few people. Could they claim colateral damage then?



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:53 PM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

That can still be detected. All it takes is one satellite passing overhead at the wrong time, because it will have to be sent over SATCOM, and you're screwed.

Not to mention that just because these are carbon fiber, that doesn't make them stealthy. Composite does not as stealth make. Yes it's used more in stealth aircraft, but there's a classified coating that is applied that makes it stealthy. And there's no way in hell that gets released to Facebook.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 01:54 PM
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a reply to: crayzeed

There's as much chance of that happening with a manned aircraft as there is with a UAV.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 03:08 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Yes that's true, but with the automatic systems on manned airliners just why do they need a pilot and co-pilot?
Because in a SHTF situation there is nothing that can compare to a human touch and that is a failing on all UAVs. There is not a person there to take control over system shutdowns.
Besides you know we humans like to play the blame game. If a passenger jet crashes there's always the pilot to blame, but if a UAV crashes who do you blame? A geek sitting in a control room hundreds or thousands of miles away? I think not, do you?



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 03:31 PM
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a reply to: crayzeed

And there have been plenty of cases where a man in the cockpit made absolutely zero difference, and in fact made things much worse. I can think of several crashes where having pilots present in the cockpit was the leading cause of them. Crew coordination has been one of the leading causes of accidents for decades.

With semi autonomous UAVs that constant requirement for people to be flying, and making mistakes is removed. The pilots will be flying only some portions of the flight. That means that an accident will be far more likely to be caused my a mechanical problem, that a person in the cockpit probably won't be able to do much about.

Then there's the fact that at that altitude there is no need to have them orbiting over any populated area. At 70,000 feet a U-2 camera can see several hundred miles. How much farther can a digital signal go, as long as it has the power requirements.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 05:26 PM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

My first question is what is in it for them. It has to bringing in some serious revenue.

I am not buying it is only to bring Face Book to children who are dying of thirst and hunger, that and spend the majority of their time ground surfing for food, not taking selfies and texting.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 06:18 PM
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a reply to: NightSkyeB4Dawn

Governments will pay big to be able to access networks in out of the way places that they have to have SATCOM for now. They can build their own network and piggyback it off this system and not have to worry about connectivity, and still get it cheaper than current methods.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 06:23 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Exactly. It is a government project with a Face Book cover.

That is what Face Book is anyway isn't it?



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 06:32 PM
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a reply to: NightSkyeB4Dawn

No, it's not a government project. Just because the government will benefit from it too doesn't mean it's a government project. The primary use will be what they said. I've been in some dirt poor places where kids would sit in the dirt begging, and people still used the Internet.




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