Aurora Flight Sciences

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Aurora Flight Sciences
Industry Aerospace manufacturer
Founded 1989
Founder John S. Langford III
Headquarters Manassas, VA, USA
Number of locations
Products Unmanned aerial vehicles
Number of employees
Parent Boeing

Aurora Flight Sciences is an American aviation and aeronautics research subsidiary of Boeing which primarily specializes in the design and construction of special-purpose Unmanned aerial vehicles. 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, Massachusetts in 2005 where Aurora now develops a line of micro air vehicles.

On October 5, 2017 Boeing announced that it would be acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences.[2]

In April 2018, as DARPA allowed Aurora to transition government-funded technology for commercial applications, the tilt-wing XV-24A Lightning Strike and its distributed propulsion could be reused for an electric commercial air taxi along its lift-and-cruise prototype with vertical flight rotors and cruise fixed propellers, unveiled in 2017. Aurora plans multiple demonstrators controlled centrally by 2020 and a piloted air taxi by 2023 with autonomy later depending on regulation.[3]

Aircraft produced[edit]

Proposal [edit]

Aurora LightningStrike VTOL X-Plane


  1. ^ "AURORA FLIGHT SCIENCES CORPORATION". Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  2. ^ Alwyn Scott (October 5, 2017). "Boeing to buy autonomous and electric flight firm Aurora". Reuters. 
  3. ^ Stephen Trimble (25 April 2018). "DARPA approval clears Boeing's transition to new air taxi approach". Flightglobal. 
  4. ^ "ARES Mars Scout Mission Proposal - Platform". Archived from the original on 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  5. ^ "GoldenEye 50 Gets Airworthiness Certificate", Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, June 19, 2007. Retrieved on August 25, 2009.
  6. ^ "Morris, Jefferson: GoldenEye 80 UAV Gearing Up For Second Flight",, December 7, 2006. Retrieved on August 25, 2009.
  7. ^ Hovering Hybrid, page 36. Aviation Week & Space Technology, July 20, 2009.
  8. ^ Graham Warwick (Jan 18, 2017). "Aurora Refines Design Of Ultraefficient D8 Airliner". Aviation Week & Space Technology. 

External links[edit]