The Airbus Perlan Mission II has wrapped up 2019 Campaign IV flights in Argentina. The team members have returned to homes across America and around the world. The Perlan 2 glider is on its way back to the space glider’s home in Minden, Nevada.Season IV was a great success, with the team having achieved incredible results on our key mission objectives: Innovation, Exploration and Inspiration.The Airbus Perlan Mission II team completed seven stratospheric flights, reaching 65,000 feet on Sept. 17 – the third highest glider flight in history. And it was only 600 feet short of being the second highest soaring flight ever. This heroic effort by the entire team demonstrated that even in non-optimal conditions the Perlan 2 can still soar high in the stratosphere. A rare stratospheric weather phenomenon kept the glider from reaching higher world-record altitudes this year. (See separate blog)We’ve firmly established Perlan 2 and our endeavors on Airbus Perlan Mission II as an international asset for the global aerospace and meteorological research communities, able to obtain first-of-its-kind data on high-altitude aerodynamics, extreme weather and our earth’s climate.Some of Airbus Perlan Mission II’s achievements this season:INNOVATION:
- High-altitude aeronautical innovation, including extensive stratospheric flight tests that mapped the performance curves of the Perlan 2, obtaining greater knowledge about high-altitude wing-borne flight
- Improved aircraft systems performance and reliability.
- Refined aerotow technology and techniques, accomplishing the highest aerotows in history.
- Gathering data in the stratosphere to help scientists better understand how stratospheric waves influence the planet’s weather, climate and flight safety.
- Data collected on the very rare “sudden stratospheric warming” (SSW) event as it disrupted the Polar Vortex. The last strong SSW in the southern hemisphere was in 2002. This year’s SSW was the strongest ever recorded.
- Launched 29 weather balloons into the downwind wave fields.
- Inspiration of the next generation of engineers, explorers and innovators, including team leaders’ presentations to universities and the War College in Buenos Aires.
- Team members speaking with multiple K-12 schools, and donated supplies to a local El Calafate school.
- Video interviews, photos, and articles were shared with global audiences through Airbus Perlan Mission II’s communications platforms, including subscriber emails, The Perlan Project Blog, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Airbus.com, and international news.
The Airbus Perlan Mission II podcast series on SoundCloud features interviews with a wide range of team members. It’s a great listen – be sure to tune in > https://soundcloud.com/airbus-perlanWe’ll continue to post updates on Facebook and Twitter @PerlanProject and @AirbusInTheUS as the team prepares for future adventures. Tell your friends to follow along.
Airbus Perlan Mission II is an initiative to fly an engineless glider to the edge of space, higher than any other winged aircraft has operated in level, controlled flight, to open up a world of new discoveries related to high-altitude flight, weather and climate change.
This historic endeavor is the culmination of decades of research and engineering innovation, and the work of a tireless international team of aviators, engineers and scientists who volunteer their time and expertise for the non-profit Perlan Project.
Below (or as the last photo in the gallery) is a summary chart of the 10 highest soaring flights in history. All are by Perlan Project, either Perlan 1 or Perlan 2.
Thanks to Kristina Messner and Focused Image for organizing the content of this blog. Thanks always to Jamie Darcy of Airbus for fabulous photos. Perlan Soars!