Perlan II glider reaches new heights

Posted on 26 Aug 2017 and read 376 times
Perlan II glider reaches new heightsEarlier this month at El Calafate, Argentina, the Airbus Perlan Mission II glider reached an altitude of 32,500ft during its second season of flight testing.

The engineless glider has been specially designed to study the planet; the aim is to fly the craft to the edge of the atmosphere, where it can collect information on weather conditions, climate change and high-altitude flight without the risk of contaminating the data with its own emissions.

It is hoped that the next two months will see the all-volunteer team break the world gliding altitude record of 50,727ft, which was set in 2006 by the Perlan I aircraft.

The Patagonia region of Argentina is one of very few places in the world suitable for these tests; the mountain winds and the area’s polar vortex could potentially lift the craft to the edge of space.

Unlike a simple weather balloon, the Perlan II has a number of special features, including the ability to be steered and to ‘hover’ in a single location.

In addition to its research on weather changes, it is also meant to record the effects of high-altitude turbulence, radiation and other factors on pilots at high altitudes, the aim being to improve air and space travel in the future.

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