Aurora’s Goldeneye - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Makes First Flight w/ Athena’s Guidestar Flight Con
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Dec 17, 2006
Athena Technologies announced today its GuideStar™ flight control and navigation system contributed to the successful first flight of Aurora Flight Sciences’ GoldenEye 80 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The unique design and embedded capabilities of the GoldenEye 80 enable the UAV to be used for a variety of military missions, from conducting surveillance beyond hills in rural areas to gathering intelligence while flying between buildings in urban warfare operations.

The GoldenEye 80 is being developed under contract to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through its Organic Air Vehicle (OAV-II) program, which has responsibility for the development of UAVs to support small military groups conducting tactical missions.

Standing 65 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds, the ducted fan UAV takes off and lands vertically but can also transition to horizontal flight using wings. The flight marked an industry milestone as GoldenEye 80 became the first ducted fan UAV to fly under the power of a heavy fuel engine. Heavy fuel engines enable an aircraft to conveniently use common military fuel.

The GoldenEye 80 utilizes Athena’s GuideStar 111m miniaturized flight control and navigation system that weighs 0.5 lbs. and is about the same size as a cell phone. The GuideStar 111m enables the GoldenEye 80 to fly completely autonomously, avoiding the need of a pilot. In addition to providing flight control and navigation during vertical take off and landing, as well as horizontal flight, the GuideStar adds to the unique capabilities of the aircraft by providing autonomous obstacle avoidance through dynamic rerouting around buildings and other structures, plus reliable operations in GPS-denied conditions.

“We are pleased with the performance of the GuideStar and the dedication of the Athena team during the course of this program and in preparation of the GoldenEye 80’s first flight,” said Dr. John Langford, Aurora’s CEO. “The GuideStar gives the GoldenEye 80 completely autonomous flight and navigation including allowing it to instantaneously and safely reroute if it suddenly encounters an obstacle.”

Dr. David Vos, Athena’s CEO said: “Our customers are very important to us and Aurora is one that is working on some of the most cutting-edge UAV technology in the industry. We are proud to be contributing to the GoldenEye 80’s unique and critical mission.”

About Athena Technologies
Athena Technologies is a premier developer and producer of navigation and control systems. Founded in 1998, the company produces the GuideStar™ family of versatile, compact and cost-effective flight control systems for applications such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), target drones and missiles. The company is an independent, privately held firm with headquarters in Northern Virginia. Additional information is available at

Maureen Stevens
Athena Technologies
(540) 878-2251

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