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Raven Industries Announces Five-Hour Flight Of 'HiSentinel' Powered Stratospheric Airship

The 146-foot-long HiSentinel stratospheric airship reached an altitude of 74,000 feet during a technology demonstration flight November 8. The airship is shown fully inflated during preflight verification in a hangar in Roswell, N.M.

Sioux Falls SD (SPX) Nov 21, 2005
Raven Industries has announced that its subsidiary, Aerostar International, along with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) successfully launched and flew a powered stratospheric airship.

The flight took place from Roswell, NM on Tuesday, November 8. Aerostar provided detail design and engineering, fabricated the airship's hull, and participated in flight operations from the Roswell NM airport.

SwRI, the team lead, designed the airship and provided the Flight Controller along with the Telemetry, Power, and Propulsion systems. AFRL developed the launch procedure, provided the test facilities, and provided the crew and logistics for the launch.

The Army Space and Missile Defense Command (ASMDC) sponsored the demonstration. Raven demonstrated a small stratospheric airship with a five-pound payload in 1969. The flight carried a sixty-pound equipment pod to 74,000 feet on a five-hour flight-only the second airship in history to achieve powered flight in the stratosphere.

The project, titled HiSentinel, is focused on developing small near-space airships for inexpensive tactical communications and Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) applications.

The relatively inexpensive nature of the Hi Sentinel system will allow several test flights per year to take place, Raven President and CEO Ronald M. Moquist said. Future test flights will include multi-day missions with solar power and demonstration of the SwRI autonomous station-keeping autopilot.

Once operational, the system may be deployable by local commanders in theater operations. HiSentinel is part of Aerostar's ongoing technology roadmap in developing inexpensive stratospheric LTA (Lighter Than Air) platforms for military and commercial use.

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UAV "Seeker" Makes Emergency Landing
Pretoria, South Africa (SPX) Nov 20, 2005
During a development test flight last week, one of Denel's 'Seeker' unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was damaged in an emergency landing north of Pretoria.

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