The partnership will provide the globe with a “live, front row view” of the stratosphere, according to Thales, because the Perlan 2 glider is outfitted with the FlytLink Thales Iridium Certus-based satellite communications (SatCom) system. The live stream will provide real-time data downloads.
The Airbus Perlan Mission II crew, based in Nevada, is contemplating a probable return to flight this year in the United States and El Calafate, Argentina. The Perlan 2 glider, conceived, built, and launched to fly to 90,000 feet, has already set aviation world altitude records.
The Perlan 2 was launched in 2015 and achieved its highest record-setting flight of more than 76,000 miles in 2018. The organisation aims to conduct climate, atmospheric, and aeronautical research at very high altitudes. Its research has been used to improve climate change predictions, innovate zero-emission aviation, and demonstrate the potential of deploying energy-efficient winged aircraft on Mars.
When Perlan 2 achieves its goal height of more than 90,000 feet, it will be the highest flight altitude ever achieved by a winged aircraft. Its glider wings can fly in less than 3% of normal air density at minus 70°C temperatures, simulating the atmospheric conditions on Mars.