Yes, the original hatches worked for Perlan 2 to 54,000 feet. But the team wanted perfect hatches made to exactly fit the contour of the fuselage openings. The best description of the hatch shape is a Pringle's potato chip. 3-D curvature - both compound and complex. Once the new front hatch was proved a success (see http://perlanproject.org/blog/perlan-2-perfect-pressurization-test ), Greg Scates started on the new rear hatch.
Perlan’s blog collects the thoughts and experiences of team members from the multiple disciplines needed to build and prepare the aircraft, plan the flight, and carry out the mission. Here, you’ll find insights from the designers, craftspeople, pilots, meteorologists, and support personnel who will make Perlan’s record ascents a reality. Perlan’s blog will be an opportunity to delve into the challenges and triumphs that travel with the giant sailplane.