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Home / Newsdesk / News Releases / Unmanned Airship Soars to 95,000'
Unmanned Airship Soars to 95,000' Print E-mail PDF Rocketry Planet Newsdesk RSS Feed
News Release by David Reese   
Monday, November 07, 2011

ImageGetting a rocket to the edge of space can be a challenge. But when you put the launch pad at 95,000 feet, things get a lot easier. Such is the theory of JP Aerospace, a small research company based out of Rancho Cordova, California. On October 22, 2011, the company made the trek to Nevada's famous Black Rock Desert to attempt the latest flight of their airship, Tandem.

Tandem is an unmanned airship lifted by twin balloons, with two specially-designed six foot propellers for additional guidance and control in the thin air at extreme altitude. The thirty-foot carbon fiber craft fought extreme turbulence in the jetstream between 40 and 60,000 feet prior to achieving a maximum altitude of 95,085 feet, setting a new airship altitude record. At apogee, Tandem's balloons burst, allowing room for five parachutes to deploy and carry the vehicle to a soft landing.

John Powell, president of JP Aerospace, described the magnitude of the attempt: "The big aerospace firms have been trying to do this for decades, spending hundreds of millions of dollars. We've spent about $30,000 and the past five years developing Tandem." The eventual goal for this airship is to function as a "high-altitude backhoe", providing a launch platform for small research rockets intended for hypersonic research and eventual orbital flight attempts.

More information on JP Aerospace can be found at their website:

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