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The space glider Perlan 2 is helping Airbus take on Silicon Valley's brightest innovators, even while pursuing technologies that might eventually lead to passenger flights in space.That sum makes Airbus the leading partner in Perlan 2, according to a source familiar with the deal. It represents 57 percent of the $7 million budget raised to build the glider.In partnership with the Uber transportation company, Airbus wants to develop a helicopter-on-call service.As conventional air corridors grow more crowded, Airbus wants to use Perlan 2 as a "platform" to test plans for airplanes that could cruise at altitudes of up to 18,300 meters, well above the current limits of 12,500 meters.Marco Caceres, a space analyst with the Teal Group, said Airbus aims to be a leading pioneer in the field.
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