Status Report

NASA’s HELIOS solar airplane takes off for altitude flight on 13 Aug 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
August 13, 2001
Filed under ,

A remotely-piloted solar-powered flying wing that could set an altitude
record today took off from a runway on the Hawaiian island of Kauai at 8:49
a.m. Hawaiian time (11:49 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time). Engineers from NASA’s
Dryden Flight Research Center and AeroVironment, builders of the 247-ft.
wing, hope to reach an altitude of 95,000 to 100,000 feet with the airplane
by this afternoon. That is higher than any non-rocket-powered aircraft has
climbed and sustained flight. The Helios Prototype could point the way to a
fleet of remotely-piloted aircraft capable of sustained high-altitude flight
for months at a time. They could serve as efficient communications relay
platforms and environmental monitoring stations.

SpaceRef staff editor.