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NASA, AEROVIRONMENT COLLABORATION NAMED ONE OF SIX MOST MEMORABLE FLIGHTS OF 2001

February 25, 2002

Release: 02-10

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The record 96,863-foot altitude flight achieved by the NASA/AeroVironment Helios Prototype on Aug. 13, 2001, has been named one of the six Most Memorable Aviation Records of 2001 by the National Aeronautic Association.

The remotely piloted, solar-powered Helios achieved flight higher than any other non-rocket powered aircraft, providing experience for future long-loiter solar aircraft, as well as offering a glimpse of aerodynamics in the lower Martian atmosphere, which the Earth's rarefied air mimics at that altitude.

The 247-foot Helios flying wing was built by AeroVironment, Inc., of Monrovia, Calif., as part of NASA's Environmental Research and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. Helios-type aircraft could one day act as stratospheric platforms using solar and regenerative power to fly for extended periods while providing low cost telecommunications relay services or environmental monitoring.

The record flight was flown from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.

For further information contact Alan Brown at Dryden public affairs, (661) 276-2665.

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