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The Airbus Perlan Mission II wraps up its flights

More Articles November 2023

The Airbus Perlan Mission II wraps up its flights

The aviation history-making Airbus Perlan Mission II initiative, an experimental glider and atmospheric research project title-sponsored by Airbus since 2014, returned to Argentina earlier this winter in its fifth campaign. This season, the Perlan 2 sailplane completed its 74th flight by soaring into some of the highest and coldest points in the stratosphere above the Andes Mountains. 

The international team of aerospace experts and climate scientists continued to advance new aerospace science and explore new discoveries, with the Perlan 2 carrying experiments from universities and schools in the U.S. that explored climate and aerospace research. One CubeSat carried by Perlan 2 included a highly sensitive microphone to listen to the sounds of the stratosphere for signs of turbulence. 

Although this edition of the Perlan Mission II didn't achieve its top record objective of 90,000 feet, they remain the current world record holder for highest subsonic crewed, winged flight, as well as for the highest glider flight, both due to their 2018 flight topping 76,124 feet. This season the team faced warmer weather trends in the stratosphere, potentially due to some effect from the wildfires in Canada earlier in the year. Regardless, the tPerlan’s topflight this year surpassed 60,000 feet, about twice the altitude of typical commercial flights. 

The team was on-site in El Calafate between July and September. While future missions are in planning and yet to be determined, The Perlan Project is continuing its work in providing aerospace and climate organizations with an effective, zero-emission platform for high-altitude research. In fact, the team is working with Airbus UpNext in support of research related to the development of future hydrogen engines. Perlan is also continuing its work with students, teachers and research institutions around the world, reaching and engaging the next generation of aviation innovators.  

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