Press Release

Aurora Chosen for NASA Mars Scout Mission Study

By SpaceRef Editor
December 10, 2002
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Aurora Chosen for NASA Mars Scout Mission Study

Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
announced today that it is a member of the Aerial Regional-Scale Environmental
Survey (ARES) team, whose proposal is one of four selected for Phase II of
NASA’s Mars Scout mission. Aurora is the airframe provider for the ARES team,
which is led by the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The
ARES mission will use a small robotic aircraft to provide the first direct
measurements of the near-surface chemistry of the Martian atmosphere. These
measurements will yield information critical to helping scientists understand
the evolution, climate, and potential for life on Mars.

“Aurora is very pleased to be part of the NASA Langley team,” said
Aurora’s president John Langford. “Designing the first aircraft to fly in
another planetary atmosphere is both an honor and a challenge.” This
development represents another successful step in Aurora’s leading-edge work
to prepare robotic aircraft technology for scientific application on
interplanetary missions.

The MarsFlyer is a half-scale prototype of an aircraft that may one day be
used to study Mars and its atmospheric environment. The vehicle has been
successfully proven in test flight at an altitude of almost 19 miles,
confirming its ability to deploy its wings and tail and demonstrating its
aerodynamic performance. The test flight showed the readiness of robotic
aircraft technology for planetary exploration.

MarsFlyer is the subject vehicle of the Langley team’s ARES proposal, one
of four proposals judged to have the highest science value among those
submitted in response to the Mars Scout 2002 Announcement of Opportunity.
Building on its winning mission concept study and successful high-altitude
demonstration, the team will receive up to $500,000 to conduct a six-month
implementation feasibility study focused on cost, management, and technical

Aurora Flight Sciences is a leading supplier of unmanned air vehicle
designs, components, and flight services for government, industry, and
academia. We operate facilities in West Virginia, Northern Virginia, and
California. We specialize in high-altitude UAVs, and are a major supplier of
composite structures for the Global Hawk air vehicle.

SpaceRef staff editor.