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A glider sets new altitude record

The Perlan-2 glider yesterday set a new altitude record, reaching an altitude of more than fourteen miles.

Then on September 2, Perlan pilots Jim Payne and Tim Gardner strapped themselves in and rode the glider to an altitude of 76,000 ft (23,000 m), setting a new flight record. This is higher than Lockheed Martin’s jet-powered U2 spy plane flown by the CIA, which reached 73,700 ft (22,475 m), and places it amongst a handful of manned aircraft to sustain flight at such as altitude.

Implied but unstated in the article at the link is the military value of this technology, once combined with drone technology.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

2 comments

  • Mike Borgelt

    Military tech? This only shows that on the right few days of the year in a unique location a properly designed subsonic aircraft can fly this high. There is no new tech in this. The meteorology is very special.
    They also needed to tow to 40,000 feet or so using a special turboprop towplane, the Grob Egret. A friend of mine was the maintenance engineer on that thing when it was in Australia for 7 years.
    The original plan was to work lower mountain wave systems from a much lower tow and then try to transition to the upper wave system. They seem to have given up on that. Note there are no pressure suits and a pressurization failure will likely kill the pilots.

  • Matt Ponas

    The drone probably monitored and corroborated their “achievement”… but from about a thousand feet higher just to be sure…

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