Mission Planning#

Mission Objectives#

Primary Objectives#

The primary objectives of Operation Whale Drop are:

  1. To lift a RC-controlled, fixed-wing aircraft to a target altitude of 100,000’

  2. To fly it back to the launch area, and recover it safely.

Secondary Objectives#

In addition to the primary objective, there are a number of secondary objectives, listed below in order of priority. If it becomes necessary to sacrifice objectives, we will prefer sacrificing lower priority objectives.

  1. To record the entire mission with a high-definition camera.

  2. To broadcast live video of the mission to the ground station for the purposes of tracking and control.

  3. To maintain remote control of the vehicle for the mission, and to be able to manually fly the vehicle during the descent phase.

  4. To record telemetry data of the mission for later analysis.


  1. Complete Success

    All primary and secondary objectives of the mission are met.

  2. Partial Success

    At least one primary objective is met, and all secondary objectives are met.

  3. Partial Failure

    All primary objectives are failed, but the vehicle is recovered safely.

    The vehicle is recovered damaged, but the secondary objectives are met.

  4. Complete Failure

    The vehicle is lost completely.

    The vehicle is recovered, damaged, and unable to meet the secondary objectives.

    The mission results in significant property damage.

  5. Catastrophic Failure

    The mission results in significant injury or loss of life.