This new Airbus glider is set to become the highest-flying winged vehicle ever
To the stratosphere and back without an engine.
Airbus is getting ready to test the capacity of its engineless Perlan 2 glider, and it’s expected to reach an altitude of 27 km (90,000 feet) - well beyond the lower edge of Earth’s stratosphere. If it succeeds, this will be the highest any winged vehicle, powered or otherwise, has achieved sustained, level flight.
While that would be a pretty awesome achievement in itself, if Airbus sets this record, it could have really exciting implications for the future of aviation not only on Earth, but also out on Mars. “Airbus recently filed a patent for hypersonic passenger craft that will go to suborbital space and back down again,” Allan McArtor, chairman and CEO of Airbus, told Forbes. "It’s in that region of suborbital space that Perlan 2 will be flying.”