top of page
  • Writer's picturesUAS News

AFWERX Gives Greenlight to Build Hybrid LTA ORB Prototype

This AFWERX STTR Phase II award is a follow-on to the Phase I STTR LTA Hybrid Electric Orb forUrban Air Mobility study awarded in 2021.

We see a myriad of eVTOL configurations offered as Advanced Air Mobility solutions. Most eVTOL designs are power-hungry during the take-off, landing and transition phases of flight, benefiting from passive lift generated by the wings during cruise. Some SMEs are skeptical that these configurations will have enough power reserves to achieve an economically viable range with a full complement of passengers, crew, cabin climate control, and the avionics to support working in the low-altitude traffic environment.

Systems that use fossil fuels are not green, true; however, they have several advantages, one of which is becoming more efficient as they travel because they lose the weight of the consumed fuel. On the other hand, electric aircraft continue to haul dead weight in the form of energy-depleted batteries.

Framing the energy questions, Jason White, Managing Partner at Galaxy Unmanned Systems LLC, says, “the AFWERX Phase 1 STTR feasibility study allowed us to do a deep dive on the applicable electric component/system development. We are partnering with companies to use additive manufacturing to develop lightweight, high-power output APUs, solar, and novel hydrogen fuel cells. Electric aviation is a reality, and we believe the airship to be an excellent ORB testbed to overcome some of the limitations in chemistry-dependent configurations.”

Tony White, Chief Pilot, insists that the scope of this award is another right step in the Galaxy journey to help solve potential AAM issues and integrate new forms of cargo and passenger transportation into an existing airspace system.

“The airship provides an excellent test bed configuration with long endurance and is less apt to suffer damage due to any single point or component failure as we can stay airborne with aerostatic lift. An added level of safety and economy is inherent in buoyancy, and we are not solely reliant on dynamic lift to get and stay airborne.”

This article is one installment of a multipart series that explains the Galaxy Unmanned Systems road map concept model. Watch for follow on articles that explain how these series of awards fit into their master plan for integrating new forms of aviation into the NAS.

To learn more about Galaxy Unmanned Systems LLC


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page