DONA ANA COUNTY, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Students from Sunland Park, Anthony, and Las Cruces are sending science experiments to the edge of space on the Airbus Perlan Mission II.
The pressurized glider will travel 90,000 feet to the stratosphere, higher than any other piloted airplane, carrying with it a number of projects by students across the country. Included in those projects are three done by students here in the Borderland.
Riverside Elementary School in Sunland Park is sending its Workshop CubeSat Trial. Gadsden High School students are sending up an Environmental Explorer. NMSU students put together an Atmospheric Air Quality Examiner. Other projects included on the flight were put together by students from Kansas, Kentucky, and Maine. The experiments test a range of things, from the sound of stratospheric turbulence to radiation levels.
This project by the Perlan Project started at the beginning of the year, asking students to design and build experiments to explore the limits of Earth's atmosphere. The flight will take off from Argentina the last week of July.
The Perlan glider is piloted by two professionals and does not have an engine. A spokesperson tells ABC-7 that the glider is expected to set a new aviation altitude world record for piloted level flight this year. The same team previously set four aviation records with the same aircraft. The record it is aiming to beat this year is the same one they set in 2018, flying to a record height of 76,124.
The Perlan Project is a non-profit aerospace organization that promotes education in high-altitude flight, weather, and climate change.
“We’re pushing the boundaries of aviation, reaching for stars and doing some great science in the stratosphere along the way,” the CEO of The Perlan Project, Ed Warnock, said. “There are answers in the upper atmosphere that can help us unlock new discoveries and create solutions to improve our world."
The New Mexico Space Grant Consortium helped fund the student projects, among other organizations.