Perseus high altitude remotely piloted aircraft being towed in flight.
Perseus A, which incorporated a closed-cycle combustion system that mixed oxygen carried aboard the aircraft with engine exhaust to compensate for the thin air at high altitudes. The Perseus A was towed into the air by a ground vehicle and its engine started after it became airborne. Prior to landing, the engine was stopped, the propeller locked in horizontal position, and the Perseus A glided to a landing on its landing gear
Two Perseus A aircraft were built and made 21 flights in 1993-1994. One of the Perseus A aircraft reached over 50,000 feet in altitude on its third test flight. Although one of the Perseus A aircraft was destroyed in a crash after a vertical gyroscope failed in flight, the other aircraft completed its test program and remains on display at Aurora's facility in Manassas.
|Manufacturer||Aurora Flight Sciences Corp.|
|Fuselage Length||26.2 ft.|
|Wing Area||172 ft.|
|Take-off Weight||1400 - 1825 lbs.|
|Altitude||Maximum altitude attained: 50,125 feet on 8/13/94|
|Mission Duration||6 hrs.|
|Structure||Graphite epoxy, nomex honeycomb and kevlar aero surfaces, tubular steel frame fuselage|
|Engine||Rotax 912 horizontally opposed four cylinder core modified to operate closed-cycle using liquid oxygen.|