Tier 3 DarkStar on ramp, Dryden Flight Research Center, California, USA, September 14, 1995. The Tier III- (minus) unpiloted aerial vehicle is inspected by NASA personnel. It was developed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and Boeing Defense and Space Group to satisfy a goal of the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) to supply responsive and sustained surveillance and reconnaissance data from anywhere within enemy territory, day or night, in all types of weather. Dubbed DarkStar, it had a wing span of 69 feet and was designed to fly above 45,000 feet at subsonic speeds on missions lasting more than eight hours. The DarkStar's unusual shape was dictated by the requirement to orbit its target conducting surveillance while still remaining stealthy. At the beginning of its second flight, it crashed on takeoff, and was destroyed.
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