The company was acquired by Google in 2014, who planned to use Titan Aerospace to develop unmanned aerial vehicles capable of bringing Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world. In January 2017, Google announced that it was abandoning the project.
The company was founded in 2011 by Max Yaney. Vern Raburn, former CEO of Eclipse Aviation, joined the company in 2013. Raburn was previously with Symantec and had been an early employee of Microsoft during its start-up phase.
The company intended to manufacture unmanned aircraft under the designation AtmoSat. The so-called "atmospheric satellites" or Solar Powered Atmospheric Satellite Drones were predicted to travel up to 20 kilometers high and to have satellite-typical functions. Equipped with a solar power system they were projected to, according to the company, fly continuously up to five years and thereby cover four million kilometers.
- Solara 50, with 50-meter wingspan and 15 meters in length, was presented at the fair AUVSI's Unmanned Systems in Washington. Solara 50 was projected to accommodate a payload of 32 kilograms.
- Solara 60, with a payload of more than 100 kg., was a predicted follow-on development.
The Solara AtmoSat platform promised customers around the world real-time images of the earth, voice and data services, navigation and mapping of services and monitoring systems of the atmosphere. The systems hoped to provide signal coverage over 17,800 square kilometers, giving a hypothetical Solara drone greater coverage than 100 terrestrial cell towers.
First and Only Test Flight
On Friday May 1st, 2015, the sole SOLARA 50, registration number N950TA, flew for four minutes and sixteen seconds before impacting the ground following an in-flight structural failure. The aircraft reached an altitude of approximately 520 feet above ground level.
Purchase by Google
According to Manager Magazine at the beginning of March 2014 Facebook had offered $60 million to buy the company. Techcrunch further reported that Facebook wanted to use the drones to supply areas having no internet connection with affordable network access.
- Titan Aerospace - official site
- "Titan Aerospace Appoints Vern Raburn as Chairman and CEO". Unmanned Systems Technology. 17 Oct 2013. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
- Titan Aerospace Developing World's First Solar-Powered Atmospheric Satellite Drones, inhabitat.com
- "Vern Raburn as Chairman and CEO - Titan Aerospace". Titan Aerospace. Archived from the original on 2013-11-01.
- Mayfield, Dan (Oct 16, 2013). "Vern Raburn tapped to lead unmanned aircraft startup". Albuquerque Business First. Archived from the original on 2013-10-24.
- "Google kauft Drohnen-Anbieter Titan Aerospace" (text/html). Cashys Blog (in German). Cashys Blog. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- "Titan Aerospace – Solar Atmospheric Satellites". Titan Aerospace Homepage. Titan Aerospace. 2014-04-14. Archived from the original (text/html) on 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- Titan to Hold a Press Conference In D.C. at AUVSI Archived 2014-09-05 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Titan to Hold a Press Conference In D.C. at AUVSI - Titan Aerospace" (PDF). Photon.info. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "Facebook wird sich an der Drohnen-Firma beteiligen" (in German). manager-magazin.de. March 2014.
- "Facebook Buying Drone Maker Titan Aerospace". TechCrunch. 4 March 2014.
- "Google buys Titan Aerospace of Moriarty". abqjournal.com.
- "Globale Internetversorgung – Google steigt ins Drohnengeschäft ein" (in German). spiegel.de.
- "Alphabet's Access unit gets profiled, reportedly getting a rebrand as Google unifies several projects". 9to5google.com.
- "Report: Google X absorbing robotics division and Titan drone project as Alphabet re-org continues". 9to5google.com.
- "Alphabet cuts former Titan drone program from X division, employees dispersing to other units". 9to5google.com.