It is named Airbus Perlan II, and promises to be the first engineless glider in the world to reach 90,000 feet or 27,430 meters on the edge of space riding “mountain waves” in a daring feat that could open up higher altitudes of the stratosphere to human possibilities - the Mail Online reports.
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This record-making event is set for June, 2016.
The project is sponsored by the chairman and CEO of Airbus Group, Allan McArtor, who revealed that the epoch-marking event will take place in Argentina this year.
“Airbus recently filed a patent for hypersonic passenger craft that will go to suborbital space and back again,” he explained. “It’s in that region of suborbital space that Perlan II will be flying.”
The ultimate aim of the project according to McArtor is to open up a world of new discoveries related to high-altitude flight, climate change and space exploration among others.
The glider will be speeding at over 400mph or 643 km/h at this altitude, and the two-person crew will only be able to breathe pure oxygen via a rebreather system akin to what astronauts in space use. And there is another thing: the atmosphere the Perlan II will be exploring cannot be polluted because the glider has no engine.
New scientific instruments and experiments will also be tested at this high altitude and this will offer knowledge into climate change events from the upper atmosphere.
“Airbus Perlan Mission II is an historic endeavour in the truest spirit of aviation's earliest pioneers,” said Tom Enders, chief executive officer of Airbus Group which sponsors the project.
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“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,” Enders added.