"Sova's tests in the stratosphere in the summer of 2017 were successful. There was a long flight at an altitude of about 20,000 meters (66,000 feet). Unfortunately, the device got into a zone of severe turbulence and suffered serious damage, but it is wrong to say that it fell apart in the air. Despite the damage, we received all the necessary data, verified both the prospects of the research area and the correctness of the chosen design solutions," the representative of Russia's Foundation for Advanced Research (FPI) said.
Earlier in the day, media reported that Sova’s tests failed and that the satellite had broken down.
The Sova is designed for months-long flights at stratospheric altitudes, and its application is in ensuring communication in hard-to-reach areas, re-transmitting data, and monitoring the Earth's surface and terrestrial space, the official explained.
In 2016 the duration of the experimental flight was more than 50 hours at an altitude of 9,000 meters (30,000 feet). The first prototype of the atmospheric satellite had a nine-meter wingspan and an extremely lightweight design of only 12 kilograms (26 pounds).