The purpose of ERAST
is to enable aircraft companies to build UAVs that can carry out science missions that would be either impractical or impossible for NASA's current fleet of science platform aircraft.
NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards oversees the ERAST
program and test flew earlier versions of the airplane.
is aimed at developing technologies leading to the creation of aircraft that can fly at very high altitudes and stay there for hours - even days - at a time.
By the time the aircraft was adopted into the ERAST
project in late 1993, solar cells had been added, eventually covering the entire upper surface of the wing.
Near-term goals for Proteus include flight tests in support of the NASA ERAST
program, continued envelope expansion and performance testing, autopilot integration, support of angel Technologies' telecommunications flight tests (www.
Perseus B and other unconventional aircraft in the ERAST
program are being evaluated for possible future use in scientific and environmental research.