Aurora Flight Sciences

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

Aurora Flight Sciences is an American aviation, aeronautics research company 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, MA in 2005 where Aurora now develops a line of micro air vehicles.

Aircraft Produced[edit]


NASA / Aurora D8 airliner concept

Aurora is refining the D8 fuel-efficient airliner designed for NASA by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hoping to fly a demonstrator in 2021. The 180-seat, 3,000-nm-range airliner, within the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 capabilities, could be introduced by 2035. The side-by-side double bubble fuselage offers a faster turnaround but being less radical than competing blended wing body concepts to without modifying existing airport infrastructure, and boundary layer ingestion. The original goal was to reduce fuel burn by 70% and noise by 71 dB by flying at Mach 0.74, but a more traditional Mach 0.82 wing and fuselage growth resulted in a more-conservative 49% fuel burn reduction and 40 EPNdB noise reduction against a Boeing 737NG.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "ARES Mars Scout Mission Proposal - Platform". Archived from the original on 2013-12-12. 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.
  6. ^ Graham Warwick (Jan 18, 2017). "Aurora Refines Design Of Ultraefficient D8 Airliner". Aviation Week & Space Technology. 

External links[edit]