Microlink Devices’ Solar Sheets Power Zephyr UAV Maiden Flight

The combination of high-efficiency and low mass enabled by MicroLink’s ELO inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) solar cells provides superior performance unmatched by any other solar cell technology.

America’s MicroLink Devices has provided its epitaxial lift-off (ELO) solar sheet technology to Airbus Defence and Space for the successful launch and landing of the maiden flight of the next-generation Zephyr unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

MicroLink Devices

Zephyr S UAV flew more than 25 days continuously without refueling, setting a new long-endurance flight record.

Further, the Zephyr platform is a new class of unmanned air vehicle that operates as a high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) enabling affordable, persistent, local satellite-like services.

Running exclusively on solar power, the Zephyr aircraft holds world records for absolute endurance as well as altitude, flying at 70,000 feet or higher.

This stratospheric platform can fly for months at a time and combines the persistence of a satellite with the flexibility of UAV.

MicroLink Devices provides a lightweight and flexible, high-efficiency solar sheet technology that is an enabling technology for electrically powered UAVs and satellites that have significant area and weight constraints.

The combination of high-efficiency and low mass enabled by MicroLink’s ELO inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) solar cells provides superior performance unmatched by any other solar cell technology.

Commenting on the development, Airbus HAPS Program Director, Sophie Thomas said, “Our collaboration with MicroLink Devices in the application of their ELO solar sheet technology to the Zephyr has been important to the success of the HAPS program. The high specific power of MicroLink’s solar sheets enables the Zephyr to fly uninterrupted in the stratosphere which would not be possible with lower performance solar cell technology. This will further extend the capability and utility of the Zephyr platform for our customers.”

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Manu Tayal

Manu Tayal

Manu is an Associate Editor at Saur Energy International where she writes and edits clean & green energy news, featured articles and interview industry veterans with a special focus on solar, wind and financial segments.

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