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Airbus Perlan, Thales plan fresh round of high flights

The dynamic duo, with the help of Iridium Satellite Communications, plans to fit the zero-emissions Perlan 2 glider and the Egrett super tow plane, with Thales’ cutting-edge satellite communications system, FlytLink, to another record-breaking altitude of 90,000 feet to bring the world a live view of the stratosphere along with audio from the glider pilots. 

The Perlan Project made headlines in 2018 for its record-setting high-altitude flight above 76,000 feet in the experimental Perlan 2 pressurized sailplane, designed to fly to 90,000 feet without an engine.

Becoming a high-altitude hot spot isn’t the only goal of the Airbus Perlan Mission II. The team also seeks to provide more accurate climate change models by investigating “the impact of stratospheric waves on global weather patterns and atmospheric chemistry”; “improve high altitude and extra-planetary flight possibilities,” like using energy-efficient fixed-wing aircraft on Mars; and “inspire future generations to pursue careers in math, science and research.”

“We look forward to Perlan 2 carrying the Thales logo as well as one of the company’s most cutting-edge communication solutions to even greater heights,” said Ed Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project. “By exploring the stratosphere in an airborne research vehicle that creates zero pollution, we hope to unlock discoveries never possible before. Through this exciting partnership with Thales, we also look forward to inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and pilots in environmentally conscious aviation.”

The Airbus Perlan Mission II team, based in Minden, Nevada, plans to return to flight this year in the United States and El Calafate, Argentina, following pandemic-related travel restrictions and supply chain issues.

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