Internet Current Affairs

Facebook’s Internet drone Aquila passes first full-scale test

Social networking giant Facebook’s Internet drone named ‘Aquila’ has passed first full-scale test. This was the first time using the full-scale drone.

The flight test was undertaken in Yuma, Arizona (US) and was only meant to last for 30 minutes. But the test went so well that the plane was kept flying for up for 96 minutes.

About Aquila

  • Aquila is solar solar-powered internet drone being designed to beam the Internet service to remote areas of the world. It is developed by Facebook’s Connectivity Lab.
  • It is made of a carbon fiber composite body and weighs less than 1,000 pounds.
  • Its communications payload uses lasers to transfer data. The lasers will be able to aim its internet beams accurately enough to hit target (base station) while it is in motion.
  • The drone is in some ways is self-piloting but relies on a ground crew who direct, maintain, and monitor the aircraft.
  • The ground crew controls the drone through software that allows them to determine altitude, heading and air speed, or even send a GPS-based route.
  • The solar-powered drone has been designed in such a way that it will be able to fly without landing for three months at a time.
  • It will operate between 18km and 27km above the altitude of commercial airplanes in the Stratosphere so it would not be affected by weather.


E-mail inventor Ray Tomlinson passes away

Internet pioneer and e-mail inventor Raymond Tomlinson passed away in Washington, United States. He was 74 years old.

Tomlinson invented direct electronic messages between users on different machines on a certain network in 1971.

Key pioneering inventions

  • First email system: He implemented it on the ARPANET system which is considered as the precursor to the Internet. Prior to this system, users could only write messages to others using the same computer.
  • @ sign: To send electronic messages on different machines on a certain network successfully he had used @ sign to separate the user name from the name of their machine. Since then this separation scheme is used in email addresses and has become standard.

About Ray Tomlinson

  • Born as Raymond Samuel Tomlinson on April 23, 1941 in Amsterdam, New York, US.
  • He had graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in electrical engineering.
  • In 1967, he had joined the technology company of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now BBN Technologies).
  • In this company he had helped to develop the TENEX operating system including ARPANET Network Control Program and TELNET implementations.
  • Awards and Honours: IEEE Internet Award (2004), George R. Stibitz Computer Pioneer Award (2000).
  • He was inducted in the Internet Hall of Fame (IHF) in 2012 by the Internet Society. IHF has mentioned that his email program has brought about a complete revolution, fundamentally changed the way people communicate.

ARPANET system: Abbreviated as Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). It was an early packet switching network and the first network to implement the protocol suite TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). Both of these technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet.