Kea Aerospace has taken off 

The high-tech Christchurch Aerospace company has created its first-generation solar powered unmanned aircraft, the Kea Atmos Mk1.

This high-flying craft boasts a variety of applications in observation and telecommunications, enabling local and international businesses to acquire remote areal data at a fraction of current costs and with higher-resolution images. 

Mark Rocket, Kea Aerospace’s CEO, says the Kea Atmos Mk1 is the first solar powered stratospheric aircraft designed and built in the southern hemisphere. 

He says existing methods of obtaining detailed imagery of the earth are expensive, environmentally unfriendly, and limited in range. 

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied
“People just aren't getting the high-resolution imagery that they need. So operating in the stratosphere at about 20 kilometres altitude or 65,000 feet, which is where we'll be operating with our Mk2 aircraft, that's really a great place for us to capture the high-resolution images that people need” he says.

Rocket and his team would like to build a global fleet of aircraft capturing hi-resolution data continuously,  all around the world. 

 - John Spurdle, Public Interest Journalism Fund