DARPA Awards Vulture Work

Aurora Flight Sciences has been chosen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a high-flying unmanned aircraft that can stay aloft uninterrupted for up to five years to gather data and imagery and transmit communications, the company announced April 14. DARPA is sponsoring this work under its Vulture program, which seeks to overcome the shortcomings in energy management and technology reliability that impede a pseudo satellite to operate for such extended durations in the stratosphere. Aurora calls its design Odysseus. The concept uses solar energy to power the aircraft during daylight, and stored solar energy to power the aircraft at night. Company spokeswoman Patricia Woodside told the Daily Report yesterday that the Odysseus design will be unveiled April 23 at the Boston Science Museum. Aurora’s teammates include BAE Systems, C.S. Draper Laboratories, and Sierra Nevada Corporation.