The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is proposing to develop an unmanned disaster-monitoring aircraft with a ceiling of 18,000 meters (59,000 ft.) and endurance of more than 72 hr. that could enter service in the next decade.
Such an aircraft could be quickly launched in response to earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides and typhoons; with two available, one would always be over a disaster area, JAXA says. Unlike satellites, the aircraft could maintain continuous coverage. And unlike manned aircraft, they could fly above severe weather.