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The Perlan 2 glider caught a strato­spheric moun­tain wave in early Septem­ber over El Calafate, Ar­gentina.

Perlan 2 caught a strato­spheric moun­tain wave in early Septem­ber in El Calafate, Ar­gentina, that brought the sailplane to unimag­in­able heights. Air­bus Perlan Mission 2 chief pi­lot Jim Payne and pi­lot Tim Gard­ner broke the glider al­ti­tude record when they soared all the way to 76,124 feet, where they could clearly see the dark­ness of space and the cur­va­ture of Earth’s sur­face.

The idea of bring­ing glid­ers to the edge of space by catch­ing strato­spheric moun­tain waves was con­ceived in the early 1990s by NASA re­search pi­lot and U.S. Air Force fighter and test pi­lot Ei­nar Enevold­son, who is still in­volved with the Perlan project. Enevold­son flew the first Perlan ver­sion with record-set­ter Steve Fos­sett above 50,000 feet in 2006, break­ing the record for sailplanes at that time.

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