Select Page

At the edge of the stratosphere, Airbus tests its crafts for high-altitude aerodynamics and endurance

At the edge of the stratosphere, Airbus tests its crafts for high-altitude aerodynamics and endurance

03 September 2018 – European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, reported on Monday its space division has sent an unpowered glider to a height of 76,124 feet from its base at El Calafate in Argentina’s Patagonia region. This was the glider’s third attempt in just one week to set a new altitude record.

Known as the Airbus Perlan Mission II, the engineless Perlan 2 was soared to this incredible height, roughly 23 kilometres above the earth’s surface, to collect important data on flight performance and weather at the outer edge of the stratosphere.

The weekend’s flight by pilots Jim Payne and Tim Gardner surpassed even the maximum recorded altitude in level flight of the U.S. Air Force’s famous U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft which was flown to 73,737 feet by pilot Jerry Hoyt on 17 April 1989.

“The U-2 is powered by an engine that generates 17,000 lbs. of thrust. By contrast, the Perlan 2 is engineless, weighs just 1500 pounds, and soars to its record altitudes on rare stratospheric air currents formed by [Patagonia’s] mountain winds combining with the Polar Vortex,” Airbus stated.

Airbus Chief Executive, Tom Enders, said “World records are gratifying evidence of progress to a goal but the goal itself is advancing our knowledge and expertise. By exploring an underexplored part of the atmosphere, Perlan is teaching us about efficient high-altitude flight, about detecting natural sources of lift and avoiding turbulence, and even about the viability of wing-borne exploration of Mars. As a company that makes not just airliners but also high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles such as Zephyr as well as the Mars rover robotic vehicle, every Perlan flight is an investment in our future.”

In their first two flights, the piloting crews managed to reach 63,000 and 65,600 feet before Sunday’s historic flight which added another 10,000 feet of airspace, setting the new world record.

The overall altitude record for level flight of a manned aeroplane is held by the SR-71 Blackbird at 85,069 feet. The pressurized Perlan 2 glider is designed to fly to 90,000 feet given favourable conditions.

The weekend’s record flight is the culmination of decades of research and engineering innovation, and the work of a tireless international team of aviators and scientists who volunteer their time and expertise for the non-profit Perlan Project. The project is supported by Airbus in partnership with more than thirty other sponsors and technical contributors.


 

About The Author

The Staff Reporter

The staff reporter is the most senior in-house Economist reporter. This designation is frequently used by the editor for articles submitted by third parties, especially businesses, but which had to be rewritten completely. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.