MINDEN, Nev., - Thales announced its partnership with Airbus Perlan Mission II aiming to fly Thales’ latest mobile satellite communications (SATCOM) system, FlytLink, in a zero-emission glider to more than twice the altitude of a commercial airline flight. The Nevada-based Airbus Perlan Mission II team is planning for a possible return to flight this year in the U.S. and El Calafate, Argentina.
Airbus Perlan Mission II is an initiative of The Perlan Project, a non-profit, international team of scientists, engineers, and aviators. The group has already set aviation world altitude records in the experimental Perlan 2 glider, which was designed, built and deployed to fly to 90,000 feet without an engine. Originally launched in 2015, the Perlan 2 achieved its highest record-setting flight of above 76,000 feet in 2018. The organization’s mission is to conduct climate, atmospheric and aeronautical research at extreme high altitudes. Applications of their research include informing more accurate climate-change models, innovating fuel-efficient or zero-emission aviation, and even demonstrating the feasibility of using energy-efficient winged aircraft on Mars.
The Perlan 2 glider will be fitted with the FlytLink Thales Iridium Certus based SATCOM system. This means that it will be possible to make a live feed available to STEM students, researchers and aviation enthusiasts while the aircraft is in flight, enabling access to real-time data downloads.