Shape-shifter

TECHNOLOGY PROTEUS

The Scaled Composites Proteus is a distinctive aircraft with a multipurpose capability. Mark Broadbent profiles this unique platform

More than 30 payloads have been carried by Proteus, many for various NASA projects.
All photos Scaled Composites

In Greek mythology, Proteus was a sea god who changed shape at will and could predict the future. It is an apt name for the sole Scaled Composites Model 281 Proteus, which with its distinctive tandem wings and twin tails looks like very little else in commercial aviation. Proteus was initially conceived as a highaltitude long-endurance (HALE) platform for telecommunications relay, but from the outset it was designed to carry different payloads in a variety of locations around the aircraft. Payloads can be changed relatively easily, meaning that like its mythological namesake the aircraft’s form can change. The result is that Proteus is a multipurpose platform that can carry out different research roles, from atmospheric sampling and reconnaissance to commercial imaging and sensor testing.

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