Check Out NASA’s New Drone
NASA has long battled the federal government over its budget. While it only receives 0.45% of the United States’ $3.9 trillion budget, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration must work diligently to make do with constant cuts.
This isn’t stopping NASA from making technological advances, however. Its latest creation is called the GL-10 Greased Lightning. Equipped with ten engines and powered by a battery, the
remote control drone is capable of both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) much like the Air Force’s V-22 Osprey. The GL-10 can also transition from angling the propellers up to fly like a helicopter to pointing them forward to fly like an airplane. This process is accomplished using a tiltrotor that mediates the conversion.
This development is significant because its relative, the Osprey, is a large plane used for transport and carrying cargo. The U.S. government wants to downscale VTOL technology for smaller aircraft, hence NASA’s GL-10 project. The large RC device has four engines per wing and two on either side of the tail. On the remote, the user has access to three throttle controls, one for each wing and one for the tail.
It also enjoys increased efficiency over a helicopter because the airplane mode is exceptionally streamlined, hence the name Greased Lightning.
The design is both versatile and replicable, which means that it will be easy to implement for the transport of small goods. It can be scaled up large enough for an aircraft capable of seating one to four people.
The engineers who worked on the project say that “It could be used for small package delivery or vertical takeoff and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications.”
This technology will help increase the application of drones in more facets of civilian, economic, and military life by providing an efficient blueprint for future models. As NASA perfects the GL-10, everyone from Amazon to the Armed Forces will have a little more drone in their lives.