UAV to Climb to 90,000 ft Without an Engine

perlan10Applying aerospace technology and atmospheric research to fly a glider higher than any other manned aircraft has ever flown. In 2015/16 Perlan Mission II intends to set new altitude records by flying a purpose-built pressurised high-altitude glider (the Perlan 2) higher than any other manned wing borne aircraft has ever flown in sustained flight using stratospheric mountain waves and the polar vortex and in so doing harvest invaluable data about earth’s atmosphere and its ozone layer.

The Perlan 2 will fly in a near vacuum with air density at less than 2% of that at sea level. It must be extremely strong and light like a space ship, but extremely stiff to prevent flutter. Flying at the edge of space, the Perlan II must have the reliability and life support systems of a space ship. The combination of very thin air and extremely low temperatures is similar to the environment that would be encountered flying on Mars. At such low air density the glider must fly at near transonic speeds to create enough lift to sustain flight. At these speeds shock waves can form and flow separation can ruin performance. The Perlan 2 requires a new and highly efficient aerodynamic design.


Perlan Mission I

On August 30, 2006 Steve Fossett (pilot) and Einar Enevoldson (co-pilot), flying a modified DG-505m aircraft (Perlan 1), became the first pilots to soar to 50,671 ft (15,460 m) in an unpowered aircraft (glider), breaking the previous record by 1,662 ft (507 m).

Region: World

Class: D (Gliding)

Sub-Class: DO (Open Class Gliders)

Category: General

Type of record: Absolute altitude

Performance: 15,460 m

Date: August 29, 2006

Location: El Calafate (Argentina)

Claimant: Steve Fossett (USA)


Aircraft: Glaser-Dirks DG-505 (N577SF) – GLIDER

Team: TEAM

Result: On August 30th, 2006, pilots Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson set a world-record altitude for gliders of 50,671 feet (15,447 m). Measurements taken during the flight proved that they had reached the stratosphere.

Status: ratified – current record


Einar Enevoldson (left) with the late Steve Fossett.

Perlan Project Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit aeronautical exploration and atmospheric science research organization that utilizes sailplanes (gliders) designed to fly at extremely high altitudes.

Source: Web Site

One comment

  1. What is the maximum altitude that life (plants, bacteria, birds or man) can survive without life support systems? There is talk about finding organic compounds on Mars.

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