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Altus I aircraft taking off from lakebed runway Altus I aircraft taking off from lakebed runway

Photo Number: EC97-44175-13
Photo Date: Aug. 1997

Formats: 510x480 JPEG Image (90 KBytes)
1090x1024 JPEG Image (485 KBytes)
2982x2800 JPEG Image (4,556 KBytes)

The remotely-piloted Altus I aircraft takes off from Rogers Dry Lake adjacent to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif. The short series of test flights sponsored by the Naval Postgraduate School in early August, 1997, were designed to demonstrate the ability of the experimental craft to cruise at altitudes above 40,000 feet for sustained durations. On its final flight Aug. 15, the Altus I reached an altitude of 43,500 feet.

The Altus I and its sister ship, the Altus II, are variants of the Predator surveillance drone built by General Atomics/Aeronautical Systems, Inc. They are designed for high-altitude, long-duration scientific sampling missions, and are powered by turbocharged piston engines. The Altus I incorporates a single-stage turbocharger, while the Altus II, built for NASA’s Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology program, sports a two-stage turbocharger to enable the craft to fly at altitudes above 55,000 feet.

NASA Photo by: Carla Thomas

Keywords: Altus I; ERAST; Naval Postgraduate School; high altitude; long duration; turbocharged; 43;500 feet; Predator surveillance drone; General Atomics/Aeronautical Systems Inc.; Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology program

Last Modified: February 6, 2002
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