Mark Zuckerberg is once step closer to providing internet access around the world.

According to The Yuma Sun, Facebook’s solar-powered drone successfully completed its test flight in Arizona, more than a year after the initial test run ended in a crash.

Zuckerberg wants to use the drone, called Aquila, to “beam” internet connectivity to some of the most remote areas in the world. The Facebook co-founder wrote that there are about 4 billion people—about half of the world’s population—who are left without access.

“We successfully gathered a lot of data to help us optimize Aquila's efficiency. No one has ever built an unmanned airplane that will fly for months at a time, so we need to tune every detail to get this right,” Zuckerberg recently wrote on Facebook. “When Aquila is ready, it will be a fleet of solar-powered planes that will beam internet connectivity across the world. Today, more than half the world's population—four billion people—still can't access the internet. One day, Aquila will help change that.”


Engineers made several design changes to ensure the second test flight would go more smoothly. This time around, the drone featured additional spoilers, updated autopilot software, and a horizontal propeller stopping system to improve landing. Zuckerberg said Aquila was in the air for one hour and 46 minutes.

“The improvements we implemented based on Aquila’s performance during its first test flight made a significant difference in this flight,” Martin Luis Gomez, Facebook’s director of aeronautical platforms, wrote in a statement.

Aquila weighs about 1,000 pounds and has a wingspan wider than the Boeing 747. The drone flies autonomously, but has a designated ground crew that can manually control it when necessary.

“Needless to say, the entire team was thrilled with these results. Connecting people through high-altitude solar-powered aircraft is an audacious goal, but milestones like this flight make the months of hard work worth it, Gomez wrote. […] In the coming months, we're excited to take the lessons from our successful second flight to continue the Aquila program's progress to help bring the world closer together through connectivity.”