Aurora Flight Sciences just got an order from the
NASA Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA) for a full-scale
prototype of a proposed Mars airplane. The aircraft is being built
as part of the Mars Scout Aerial Regional-Scale Environmental
Survey (ARES) project of which Dr. Joel S. Levine is the Principal
2002 Aurora and NASA Langley successfully demonstrated a half-scale
version of the airplane in a series of low altitude and high
altitude drop tests. The new airplane is to be a full-scale
version, designed to demonstrate flight-weight components and
actual aerodynamics. The prototype plane is scheduled to make its
first flight later this year with a deployment test in the upper
reaches of the Earth's atmosphere.
"This demonstration is another important step on the road to
flying the first airplane in another planetary atmosphere," said
Aurora's President, Dr. John S. Langford. "We are excited to be a
part of NASA's team in this historic endeavor."
The ARES team includes NASA Langley Research Center, the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and
Lockheed Martin Astronautics, in addition to Aurora.