The Wall Street JournalThe Wall Street Journal

Drones reach stratospheric heights in race to fly higher, longer

By Alistair MacDonald

14 Jul 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Journal reports on a new generation of high-altitude drones that aim to fly far higher than jumbo jets and stay there for months.

This month a drone took off from a missile range in New Mexico and climbed into the stratosphere, joining a race to deliver unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly higher and longer than ever before.

Drones have already shaken up warfare, recently playing a prominent role in the war in Ukraine. But militaries have long sought craft that can provide intelligence at a height beyond the reach of most radar and missile-defense systems, and for extended periods. For commercial users, high-altitude drones can be a way to beam internet services into areas with low connectivity.

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