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Pathfinder-Plus  Photo Gallery Contact Sheet

Pathfinder-Plus Photo Gallery Contact Sheet

 
Photo Date: February 12, 2007
 
Formats: Low Resolution Image Contact Sheet (116176 KBytes)
Medium Resolution Image Contact Sheet (116265 KBytes)
High Resolution Image Contact Sheet (116173 KBytes)
 
Photo
Description:
Pathfinder-Plus
 
Project
Description:

In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and flying non-stop for at least 4 days above 50,000 feet.

Major activities of Pathfinder Plus's Hawaiian flights included detection of forest nutrient status, forest regrowth after damage caused by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, sediment/algal concentrations in coastal waters, and assessment of coral reef health. Pathfinder science activities were coordinated by NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, and included researchers from the University of Hawaii and the University of California. Pathfinder is part of NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program managed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.

Pathfinder and Pathfinder Plus were designed, built, and operated by AeroVironment, Inc., Monrovia, California. Pathfinder had a 98.4-foot wing span and weighed 560 pounds. Pathfinder Plus has a 121-foot wing span and weighs about 700 pounds. Pathfinder was powered by six electric motors while Pathfinder Plus has eight. Pathfinder's solar arrays produced approximately 8,000 watts of power while Pathfinder Plus' solar arrays produce about 12,500 watts of power. Both Pathfinder aircraft were built primarily of composites, plastic, and foam.

 
Keywords: Pathfinder-Plus; solar-powered; ERAST; Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology; AeroVironment; high-altitude; world record; High Altitude Solar; Hawaii; Kauai; Centurion; Dryden Flight Research Center; Ames Research Center; AeroVironment; Inc.; ERAST; University of Hawaii; University of California; Hurricane Iniki; algal
 


Last Modified: February 12, 2007
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