A glider without an engine in its makeup is all set to enter the stratosphere. It will actually go all the way to the edge where outer space begins.
An engineless glider termed the Perlan 2 took to the skies yesterday. It is supposed to one day reach the outer limits of our planetary atmosphere where the phenomenon known as space ensues.
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It was indeed a historic occasion as the glider began its maiden voyage from Oregon. The Perlan 2 was operated by Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock. It initially touched an elevation of 5000 feet.
Next year, this glider may even reach the cherished goal of 90,000 feet above sea level. The record will be set in Argentina. The Chief Executive Officer of the project said that he was quite excited about the successful venture.
“Airbus Perlan Mission II is a historic endeavour in the truest spirit of aviation’s earliest pioneers,” said Tom Enders, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Group. “The knowledge gained from this project will impact how the world understands and addresses climate change. But it will also help Airbus continue to innovate ways to fly higher, faster and cleaner, on Earth and possibly beyond.”
It was a great step forward in the scheme of things. Aviation will never be the same anymore. Mankind’s exploratory drive simply knows no barriers as this engineless glider’s flight shows. The remaining mysteries regarding weather change, global warming and the ozone hole will be solved thanks to this scheme.
Normally airline jets reach heights that range between 30,000 and 40,000 feet. However, with the Perlan 2 glider, the height reached will be double to triple that figure. The glider has a pressurized cabin to counteract the vacuum-like conditions of space.
Those inside the glider have to breath oxygen via a re-breather, which is rather like the kind of equipment the astronauts use in their spacecraft. The engineless glider has other things on board.
These include high technology paraphernalia that are used to measure, sample and compare vital information. The really beautiful thing about this glider is that it does not cause the least bit of air pollution. Thus it is eco-friendly and not a burden on the environment.
“We’re extremely excited about the successful first flight of the Perlan 2 glider,” said Ed Warnock, CEO of the Perlan Project. “This marks a major breakthrough in aviation innovation, one that will allow winged exploration of the atmosphere at the edge of space and lead to new discoveries to unravel some of the continuing mysteries of weather, climate change and ozone depletion.”
The trips that will be taken by the glider will immensely contribute towards mankind’s ever-growing knowledge base. The earth’s stratosphere resembles Mars. It is inhospitable. The fact that this engineless glider follows its path in the empyrean heights shows that innovation is a never ending process.
Mankind’s dreams are meant to be turned to reality. The end goal of reaching 90,000 feet is a loftier height than that reached by such sophisticated aircraft as the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird.
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These aircraft were employed by Cold Warriors during the crisis between the USA and the erstwhile USSR that lasted nearly half a century. The Perlan Project is being carried out on the basis of funds amounting to $5 million. It will hopefully be a success and inspire future milestones in aviation.