The Orion long-endurance UAV successfully completed its maiden flight on Aug. 24, according to manufacturer Aurora Flight Sciences. The flight lasted three hours and 31 minutes, and reached a maximum altitude of 8,000 feet above mean sea level.
Orion is designed for extreme-persistence missions such as ISR and communications relay. It has been selected by the U.S. Air Force for the Medium Altitude Global ISR and Communication Joint Capability Technology Demonstration. Orion can stay aloft for five days at 20,000 feet while carrying a 1,000-pound payload. It can also perform strike missions while carrying 1,000 pounds on each wing hardpoint.