Aurora Flight Sciences
John Langford founded Aurora Flight Sciences in 1989, after managing the world- record- breaking Daedalus human powered aircraft project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Aurora Flight Sciences began as a design and fabrication manufacturer of high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for atmospheric and climate research. Over the years, their activities have expanded to include design and development of UAVs for military missions (Orion, GoldenEye 80, Excalibur, Odysseus), plus design and development of OPVs (Optionally Piloted Vehicles) for military and civilian missions. They are also responsible for inventing and developing innovative UAVs and related technologies for military and civilian purposes (SPHERES, other projects from Aurora’s Research and Development Center) and fabricating composite and metal structures used in constructing UAVs and manned aircraft and helicopters (Global Hawk Aft Fuselage & V-tails, Sikorsky MH-60 Sonobuoy Launchers, Sikorsky S-92 Air Stair Doors, Sikorsky CH-53K Main Rotor Pylon and more)
In addition to the expansion of their scope of activities outlined above, Aurora Flight Sciences, as a privately owned corporation, has grown to 350 employees in four states over 20 years. Sites include their Engineering Center & Corporate Headquarters in Manassas, VA, a Research & Development Center in Cambridge, MA, and production facilities in Bridgeport, WV and Columbus, MS.
In 2005, Aurora Flight Sciences of Mississippi opened a composite manufacturing and aircraft final assembly plant at MSU’s Raspet Lab in Starkville, Mississippi, beginning development of the Orion HALL (High Altitude Long Loiter), Aurora’s innovative hydrogen-powered unmanned aircraft.
In 2006, Aurora moved to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus, MS and began construction of a 22,000 square foot facility, which was occupied in early 2007. In late 2007, Aurora began a 66,000 square foot expansion to the facility at GTRA and occupied it in late 2008.
Currently Aurora Mississippi fabricates Sonobuoy Launchers for Sikorsky’s MH-60 helicopter and the Orion MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance). Currently, with about 35 staff members, Aurora Mississippi is expecting to add 30-40 staff in the next 6-12 months in areas of Composite, Assembly and Avionics Technicians; Manufacturing, Electrical, and Mechanical Systems Engineers; Quality Inspectors and Engineers; and Production Control Analysts.
Aurora Flight Sciences chose Mississippi for its skilled and motivated workforce and friendly business climate. In addition to the income provided to the local economy from the jobs and goods and services purchased to run the facilities, Aurora Mississippi has worked to develop relationships with a number of suppliers in Mississippi and the tri-state area.