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Quarter-scale Model of Solar-powered Centurion Ultra-high-altitude Flying Wing Landing during First



fuel-cell-based energy storage system that will enable flight at night, while still meeting the performance goals originally established for the Centurion. A quarter-scale model of the future Centurion solar-powered high-altitude research aircraft settles in for landing after a March 1997 test flight at El Mirage Dry Lake, California. Centurion was a unique remotely piloted, solar-powered airplane developed under NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor (ERAST) Program at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. Dryden joined with AeroVironment, Inc., Monrovia, California, under an ERAST Joint Sponsored Research Agreement, to design, develop, manufacture, and conduct flight development tests for the Centurion. The airplane was believed to be the first aircraft designed to achieve sustained horizontal flight at altitudes of 90,000 to 100,000 feet. Achieving this capability would meet the ERAST goal of developing an ultrahigh-altitude airplane that could meet the needs of the science community to perform upper-atmosphere environmental data missions. Much of the technology leading to the Centurion was developed during the Pathfinder and Pathfinder-Plus projects. However, in the course of its development, the Centurion became a prototype technology demonstration aircraft designed to validate the technology for the Helios, a planned future high-altitude, solar-powered aircraft that could fly for weeks or months at a time on science or telecommunications missions. Centurion had 206-foot-long wings and used batteries to supply power to the craft's 14 electric motors and electronic systems. Centurion first flew at Dryden Nov. 10, 1998, and followed up with a second test flight Nov. 19. On its third and final flight on Dec. 3, the craft was aloft for 31 minutes and reached an altitude of about 400 feet. All three flights were conducted over a section of Rogers Dry Lake adjacent to Dryden. For its third flight, the Centurion carried a simulated payload of more than 600 pounds--almost half the lightweight aircraft's empty weight. John Del Frate, Dryden's project manager for solar-powered aircraft, said he was impressed to see how well the aircraft handled the large weight increase from an initial payload of 150 pounds to one of 600 pounds. During 1999, Centurion gave way to the Helios Prototype, the latest and largest example of a slow-flying ultralight flying wing designed for long-duration, high-altitude Earth science or telecommunications relay missions. This was an enlarged version of the Centurion flying wing with a wingspan of 247 feet, 41 feet greater than the Centurion, 2 1/2 times that of the solar-powered Pathfinder flying wing, and longer than the wingspans of either the Boeing 747 jetliner or Lockheed C-5 transport aircraft. In upgrading the Centurion to the Helios Prototype configuration, AeroVironment added a sixth wing section and a fifth landing gear pod, among other improvements. The additional wingspan increased the area available for installation of solar cells and improved its lifting capability. This allows the Helios Prototype to carry a regenerative

NASA Identifier: NIX-EC97-43965-7



nasa nasaimageexchangecollection washington quarter scale model of solar powered centurion ultra high altitude flying wing landing during first dvids






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A helicopter dumps water on smoldering brush on Kennedy Space Center. Hazardous fire conditions exist throughout Central Florida. The site is between Kennedy Parkway North and the Indian River KSC00pp0732

An air-to-air right side view of four 318th Fighter Interceptor Squadron T-33 Shooting Star aircraft in formation near McChord Air Force Base with Mount Wilson in the background. Brigadier General (BGEN) John M. Davey, commander, 25th Air Division, pilot

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NASA X-15, Dryden history gallery

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- A NASA helicopter from Patrick Air Force Base is about to land on S.R. 3. It is one of four UH-1H helicopters that will have its blades painted, changing the black to a pattern of white and yellow stripes. The pattern provides better visibility in smoke and fire conditions. When the rotors are turning, the stripes create a yellow and white circle that is more easily seen by a second helicopter from above. The helicopters, primarily used for security and medical evacuation for NASA, will be used to deliver water via buckets during brush fires. The change was made to comply with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Department of Forestry regulations for helicopter-assisted fire control KSC00pp1792

Space shuttle Space Shuttle Discovery Launch

US Air Force (USAF) and US Navy (USN) aircraft assigned to the 366th Fighter Wing (FW) in flight over the Sawtooth Mountain range in Idaho. Pictured foreground-to-background is an F-16 CJ Fighting Falcon from the 389th Fighter Squadron (FS); an F-15E Strike Eagle from the 391st FS; an F-15C Eagle from the 390th FS; and a EA-6B Prowler from the 366th Operations Group (OG), DET 1, Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington (WA). Shown here are the wing and squadron flagship aircraft

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft transporting space shuttle Discovery to its new home departs from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7 a.m. EDT. The duo are heading south to fly over Brevard County’s beach communities, offering residents the opportunity to see the shuttle before it leaves the Space Coast for the last time. The aircraft, known as an SCA, is a Boeing 747 jet, originally manufactured for commercial use, which was modified by NASA to transport the shuttles between destinations on Earth. This SCA, designated NASA 905, is assigned to the remaining ferry missions, delivering the shuttles to their permanent public display sites. NASA 905 is scheduled to ferry Discovery to the Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia on April 17, after which the shuttle will be placed on display in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. For more information on the SCA, visit For more information on shuttle transition and retirement activities, visit Photo credit: NASA/Lorne Mathre KSC-2012-2407

Viewed through the open doors of a UH-60 Blackhawk on display, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen talks with military members participating in Public Service Recognition Week held at the National Mall, Washington, DC


nasa nasaimageexchangecollection washington quarter scale model of solar powered centurion ultra high altitude flying wing landing during first dvids