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Altus Photo Gallery Contact Sheet Altus Photo Gallery Contact Sheet

Photo Number: N/A
Photo Date: 23 May 2000

Formats: Low Resolution Image Contact Sheet (39 KBytes)
Medium Resolution Image Contact Sheet (39 KBytes)
High Resolution Image Contact Sheet (39 KBytes)

These are the image contact sheets for each image resolution of the NASA Dryden Altus Photo Gallery.

The Altus II and its sister ship, the Altus I, 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, built for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, 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 designed to enable the craft to fly at altitudes in the 65,000-foot range (although that two-stage engine was not installed until 1998-9).

The Altus II, the first of the two craft to be completed, made its first flight on May 1, 1996. With its engine augmented by a single-stage turbocharger, the Altus II reached an altitude of 37,000 ft during its first series of development flights at Dryden in Aug., 1996. In Oct. of that year, the Altus II was flown in an Atmospheric Radiation Measurement study for the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratory in Oklahoma. During the course of those flights, the Altus II set a single-flight endurance record for remotely-operated aircraft of more than 26 hours.

The Altus I, completed in 1997, flew a series of development flights at Dryden that summer. Those test flights culminated with the craft reaching an altitude of 43,500 ft while carrying a simulated 300-lb payload, a record for an unmanned aircraft powered by a piston engine augmented with a single-stage turbocharger.

The Altus II sustained an altitude of 55,000 feet for four hours in 1999. A pilot in a control station on the ground flies the craft by radio signals, using visual cues from a video camera in the nose of the Altus and information from the craft’s air data system.

Altus Project Home Page

Keywords: Altus II; Altus I; ERAST; Naval Postgraduate School; high altitude; long duration; turbocharged; 55;000 feet; Predator surveillance drone; General Atomics/Aeronautical Systems Inc.; Department of Energy/Sandia National Laboratory; Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology program; radio signals; video camera

Last Modified: February 6, 2002
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