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Aerospace Innovator of the Year – Skydweller

Skydweller is pushing unmanned, carbon neutral flight further than Oklahoma – or anyone — has ever seen. Its aircraft was the first to fly around the world using solar power, flew continuously for five days and nights and was the first solar aircraft to break the 24-hour cycle.

And the recently secured government contracts mean the company’s funding future is solid. Since establishing its headquarters in Oklahoma in June of 2020 after purchasing the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft and its intellectual rights the previous year, the U.S. Navy awarded a $5 million contract to investigate Skydweller’s ability to perform maritime patrols. And the U.S. Department of Defense Innovation Unit awarded a $14 million contract to find emerging technology for the U.S. military, and that’s in addition to the $32 million raised during Series A funding, along with another $8 million in oversubscribed funding.

“While the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft, which Skydweller purchased in 2019, was record breaking in its own right, Skydweller is continuing to push the envelope of solar powered aircraft,” said Clay Pearce, Skydweller director of structural engineering and manufacturing. “We are building a pseudo satellite capable of perpetual flight – 30, 60, 90 days. Maybe even longer.

“The SI2 achieved a 5-day flight; to extend that operational window we are developing structures, hardware, software and weather prediction that are enabling fully autonomous flight in the near future. We are having to break the paradigms that are typically evident in aerospace to arrive at a fully integrated aircraft system that has a mission cycle like none ever seen before.”

Aerospace Innovator of the Year Finalists: Vigilant Aerospace, RPX Technologies

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