There is coverage of a low stratosphere airship, the “Sanswire Stratellite” at Next Big Future. The airship, also known as the STS-111, will be tested next week, hopefully opening up a new era in high-altitude communications platforms. The airship will fly at 65,000 feet (12.3 miles) and integrates solar panels with wireless communication and sensor systems. According to the company, “Placing a communications platform into the stratosphere, in the form of an airship, has never been done before.” The current flight-endurance record for a UAV is just 30 hours — the company building the Sanswire Stratellite wants to develop a communications platform that can stay airborne for weeks or months at a time.
I am still buzzing about Yves Rossy’s historic flight last Wednesday over the Swiss Alps. In his honor, here are some pictures from the Daily Mail:
(More pictures from Impact Lab.)
I am so excited by this endeavor because it fuses together cybernetics and aerospace in a way that has never been seen before. See this excerpt from the Daily Mail article:
After one last wave to the watching crowd, Rossy dipped his wings as he prepared for the piece de resistance, a manoeuvre he hadn’t tried before…He flipped onto his back and levelled out again, executing a perfect 360-degree roll that even a bird would find impossible.
“It’s like a second skin,” Rossy said later after landing on the shores of Lake Geneva.
“If I turn to the left, I fly left. If I nudge to the right, I go right.”
He remarked that he couldn’t enjoy the view because he had to keep so concentrated. As …
Last week, news broke that Skyacht Aircraft, Inc. is developing the world’s first personal blimp, and would eventually it will be for sale. The prototype model is pictured above. I emailed the principal designer how much it cost them to build, and he said, “it was 1,000 hours of work to build and the materials cost was around $20,000. My guess is that both those numbers will change a fair bit before the descendants of the current design reach the marketplace.” I’ll bet they will – the materials cost will be greater and the time cost will decrease. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw high-quality personal airships for sale by 2008 for $50,000 a pop. The main downside is the cruising speed – around 12 mph. From the site:
While some hot air airships exist today, these craft are extremely limited in their abilities. These limits arise because the envelopes (a.k.a. “gas bags”) of these ships consist only of fabric with no rigid structural members (i.e. They are “non-rigids”.) These designs rely solely upon internal air …