An unmanned airship created by a Rancho Cordova company flew a record-breaking 95,085 feet into the air.
JP Aerospace took their Tandem airship to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert Saturday and launched the twin balloon device. Tandem is controlled remotely by an operator on the ground. The two balloons are separated by a 30-foot-long carbon fiber truss; two electric motors each spin a six-foot propeller to maneuver the ship.
JP Aerospace says there was extreme turbulence as the airship went through the atmosphere between 40,000 and 60,000 feet, before reaching a top height of more than 95,000 feet, or 18 miles, into the air. The company claims this is higher than any airship in history.
Once at the record-breaking height, the operator turned the motors on and flew the ship through a series of maneuvers. However, one of the balloons burst and after the operator transferred control to the other motor, the Tandem made a soft landing with the help of five parachutes.
According to John Powell, President of JP Aerospace, the endeavor cost less than what other big aerospace companies are spending. “We’ve spent about $30,000 and the past five years developing Tandem,” said Powell in a press release.
Tandem was built to be a “workhorse vehicle”, to carry smaller research rockets into high altitudes.
JP Aerospace is also well-known in the Sacramento area for their side project, Sand Brick Technologies, LLC. Powell and his team created a sand brick bag that is easier to fill, lightweight, and interlock with other bags, to allow for a stronger defense against rising flood waters.FOX40 reported on their sand brick bags, watch the story here.