Aurora Flight Sciences

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Aurora Flight Sciences
Industry Aerospace
Founded 1989
Founders John S. Langford III
Headquarters Manassas, VA, USA
Number of locations 4
Products Unmanned Aircraft
Employees 350

Aurora Flight Sciences specializes in the design and construction of unmanned aircraft. Aurora has been established for 20+ years and their headquarters is at the Manassas Airport in Manassas, VA.


The company was founded in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1989 as a follow on to the MIT Daedalus Project. The first aircraft was the Perseus proof of concept (POC) built for NASA which first flew in 1991 at NASA Dryden. It was followed by two Perseus As and one Perseus B which were all built for NASA's ERAST program. A twin engine Theseus was also built.

In 1995 Aurora joined the Global Hawk team and continues to build composite fuselage components and tail assemblies of the RQ-4 for Northrop Grumman and the United States Air Force.

Aurora has been involved in several NASA programs studying how to fly an aircraft on the planet Mars. A demonstration aircraft was flown in 2002 from an altitude of 100,000' to simulate the low density of the martian atmosphere.

Aurora has developed its own line of small vertical take-off UAVs known as GoldenEye. The third variant of this family, the GoldenEye-80, was first flown publicly at AUVSI's 2009 Unmanned Systems North America trade show.

Aurora has four facilities that each have their own focus. Corporate Headquarters and Engineering are in Manassas, VA. A manufacturing center was opened in Fairmont, WV in 1994. It was moved to Bridgeport, WV in 2000. Another manufacturing facility was opened in Starkville, MS in 2005. In 2007 it was moved to the nearby Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus, MS. A research and development center was opened in Cambridge, MA in 2005 where Aurora now develops a line of micro air vehicles.

In August 2010, Aurora announced that its Orion UAV would start flight tests before the end of 2010; the Orion would offer "extreme persistence".[1]

Aircraft Produced[edit]

Parts Supplied[edit]

  • Fuselage, empennage, and nacelle structures for the Global Hawk to Northrop Grumman for USAF
  • Main rotor pylon for the CH-53K to Sikorsky for USMC
  • Sonobouy launcher for the MH-60R to Sikorsky for the USN
  • Air-stair door for the S-92 to Sikorsky


  1. ^ "Orion to challenge with 'extreme persistence'". Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  2. ^ "ARES Mars Scout Mission Proposal - Platform". Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  3. ^ "GoldenEye 50 Gets Airworthiness Certificate", Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, June 19, 2007. Retrieved on August 25, 2009.
  4. ^ "Morris, Jefferson: GoldenEye 80 UAV Gearing Up For Second Flight",, December 7, 2006. Retrieved on August 25, 2009.
  5. ^ Hovering Hybrid, page 36. Aviation Week & Space Technology, July 20, 2009.

External links[edit]