Lockheed Martin Engineers Break World Record For Amateur Balloon Altitude
Owego, NY, 06/03/2008 -- A team of early career engineers at Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT], has broken the world amateur high altitude balloon record in a near space flight that exceeded 125,000 feet.
The engineers at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY broke the record on Tuesday, May 20, while executing Project Blue Horizon, which is an educational component of Lockheed Martin's Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP) and is part of the employees' graduate studies in engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
The flight broke the previous amateur high altitude record by nearly 5,000 feet. A national database of Amateur Radio High Altitude Balloon (ARHAB) flight records catalogues more than 40 teams currently competing in categories that include Highest Altitude, Highest Ascent Rate, Longest Distance, and Longest Flight Time. Independently verified Global Positioning System (GPS) flight data is required for any team to earn a record in the ARHAB database.
Since 2007, engineers participating in Project Blue Horizon have successfully launched seven flights of high altitude balloons, reaching altitudes from 60,000 to more than 100,000 feet. Onboard GPS and amateur radio technology allow monitoring of the balloon's launch, ascent into near space, descent and recovery. High resolution images from 20 miles above the earth's surface also have been taken, where a black sky, the curvature of the earth, and the blue horizon of the earth's atmosphere can clearly be seen.
This accomplishment is a testimony to our young engineers' innovation, commitment, and potential as future leaders in aerospace technology, said Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego President Frank C. Meyer.
Project Blue Horizon will continue as a voluntary component of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego's ELDP. Future teams will launch missions that include long duration flights, trans-Atlantic flights, multi-balloon missions, and the release of unmanned vehicles from near space altitudes. Elements of Project Blue Horizon also will be integrated into the New Visions Engineering Academy, a program that Lockheed Martin has partnered with Broome-Tioga BOCES to deliver beginning in the fall of 2008.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion.