Macintosh is the Brain for NASA ISP Plane [Updated]

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Date: Monday, August 13th, 2001, 22:35
Category: Archive

A new plane from NASA has been developed as a continuously-flying broadband pipeline. The brain of the plane is a Mac. No word as to which model was chosen, but we are betting on a PowerBook.


A new plane from NASA has been developed as a continuously-flying broadband pipeline. The brain of the plane is a Mac. No word as to which model was chosen, but we are betting on a PowerBook.


Helios, an aircraft resembling a giant wing, was built with funding and research help from NASA (news – web sites), and has flown successfully. Backers claim its transmission services will be far cheaper than satellites and more efficient than wireless towers…

But Helios is unique in its design and in plans for its use. With a wingspan of 247 feet – wider than a Boeing 747 – Helios is 6 feet high and weighs 1,850 pounds, which allows it to take off at just 30 mph. It flies on the edge of Earth’s atmosphere, 100,000 feet high. Helios’ 14 electric motors run on solar power generated by 65,000 solar cells by day, and on fuel cells energized by solar power by night. Helios’ “brain” is an Apple Computer Macintosh (news – web sites) computer that would guide it back to Earth when necessary.

[Peter Kline]

Yahoo has posted a slide show of pictures of NASA’s Helios Prototype Flying Wing – a new prototype plane that has a Macintosh brain.


The Helios, NASA’s solar-powered flying wing, descended to Earth August 14, 2001 after scaling heights no other airplane has ever reached — 96,500 feet. The $15 million experimental aircraft, powered by 14 tiny propeller motors that have been described as having the strength of blow dryers, surpassed the horizontal flight record of 85,068 feet set in 1966 by a Lockheed SR-71 jet. The Helios is seen taking off from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii August 13. (Nick Galante/NASA via Reuters)

[DigitalBill]


Jason,
I got to meet two of the leads from the Helios Project at Macworld SF 2001. We were the first guys in line for the keynote.

They do in fact use a lot of PowerBooks (in fact, their team has 10 TiBooks, I think) in admin and design…. I’ll have to email Stef and see what’s on board the plane…

Go Mac!
Bill D

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