A British team has flight-tested an autonomous aircraft powered by variable-buoyancy propulsion that engineers say could deliver a novel lower-cost approach for the missions performed by high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) platforms. The Phoenix, a joint development of several UK universities and small businesses, is the result of a three-year project to study the potential of a variable-buoyancy propulsion system on an aircraft. Until now, such a propulsion system has only been adopted ...

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