The Perlan 2 glider made history this Wednesday by flying to the edge of space in its first flight.
Morgan Sandercock and Jim Payne were the pilots of the glider. On Wednesday they have lifted the glider off the ground and reached the altitude of 5,000 feet right above the territory of Oregon’s Redmond Municipal Airport. The flight is now hailed as one of the milestones of aviation and is considered a significant step towards the next goal proposed by Ed Warnock, who is the chief executive of the project.
Ed Warnock said that the project’s team is excited about the achievement, and their next goal is to reach the height of 90,000 feet next year over the territory of Argentina. He declared that the test flight represents a stepping stone towards innovating the field of aviation. Soon it may be possible that the exploration of the atmosphere could be made by such aircrafts. Warnock adds that the advancements they brought to the field of aviation may lead to new discoveries regarding climate change and weather phenomena.
The Perlan 2 is currently undergoing even more upgrades, in order to reach double the altitude of your average commercial flight. The altitude of cruising airplanes is somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 feet.
In order to make this possible, the glider will have to be pressurized more. The two pilots inside its cabin will have to breathe oxygen through a modern re-breather machine, similarly to what astronauts are using in spacecrafts.
Another goal of the team was to inspire more people around the world to become researchers and explorers, said Warnock. The chief executives boasts with the glider’s ability to conduct observations and collect statistics with equipment that does not pollute the atmosphere at all.
The Perlan Project is currently being funded by Airbus, who has very high hopes from the non-profit organization. The scientists at Perlan intend to bring more and more advancements in the field of aviation, with their main purpose being to create aircrafts that are capable of flying in the most extreme possible conditions our planet has to offer.
The engineless aircraft will also provide researchers with a simulation of how NASA’s aircrafts could fly above the surface of Mars, because the stratosphere of our Planet closely resembles the conditions of Mars atmosphere. The team of scientists expects the glider will be reaching the stratosphere next year.
Photo Credits aviationweek.com