The system developed at Langley flies a kite in a figure-8 pattern to power a generator on the ground (Photo: NASA)
Currently, land-based tower wind turbines are the dominant source of wind power, but they take up a lot of space and generally need to be placed in high visibility areas, such as the tops of hills or ridges. They are also located close to the ground, where friction from the Earth’s surface slows the wind and increases its turbulence, negatively affecting the efficiency of the turbines. NASA engineers are looking at technologies that would help airborne wind power systems, capable of generating much more power, get off the ground.
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