Airbus has moved a step closer to introducing a new class of unmanned solar-powered aeroplanes with unlimited range after one of this new breed of aircraft completed an 11-day non-stop flight.

The company’s defence and space division has just finished the test of its High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (Haps) Zephyr 7 vehicle for the Ministry of Defence, paving the way for a new range of capabilities for the military.

These vehicles could in the future provide surveillance and communications capabilities similar to satellites – but at a fraction of the cost of launching rockets into space and from any conventional runway rather than a dedicated spaceport.

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