Fiction epics like the Final Fantasy Video games and current series
Fringe often depict a world in which giant
air ships rule the skies. While airplanes aren't about to
give up their command of the skies above our world, there's recently
been a surprising rejuvenation in real
world airships as well.E-Green Technologies will be
among the companies leading airships into the future following its
acquisition of 21st Century Airships, in November 2009.
Armed with its new acquisition, the company has created an
"stratellite" (stratosphere-satellite) ship, which it
plans to sell to military and civilian interests alike.The
new airship, dubbed the Bullet-580, features a massive cylindrical
body with a cone head. The ship measures 235-feet (75 m) long
-- as tall as a 23-story skyscraper. The airship's outer
envelope is made of kevlar, the same material used it bulletproof
vests. It is one-sixteenth of an inch thick, but is 10 times as
strong as steel in terms of impact resistance.That strong
envelope can protect up to 2,000 pounds (907 kg) of cargo, which can
be carried at altitudes of 20,000 feet (6,096 m). Such high
altitudes and ample cargo hauling abilities make the airship well
suited for military surveillance or commercial telecommunications
duties.The massive airship is still significantly smaller
than its predecessors in the early twentieth century, such as the
ill-fated German Hindenberg, which measured 804-feet (245 m).
However, its smaller size allows it to be pretty quick; the
Bullet-580 has a top cruising speed of 80 mph.NASA and Old
Dominion University have offered up an experimental payload for
the craft's maiden flight, which will be conducted in Norfolk,
Virginia. later this year. The instrumentation put aboard the
craft will be used to collect data on moisture content in soil.The
first step towards that test flight -- the inflation of the craft --
has just been carried out. The craft seems to be holding
together perfectly as it rests in the Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery,
AL.Among the diverse roles E-Green Technologies says the
craft can fulfill are battlefield surveillance, missile defense
warning, electronic countermeasures, weapons platforms, Global
Positioning Satellite (GPS) services, weather monitoring, broadcast
communications and communications relays.The company hopes
production demands will create hundreds of new textile jobs in
Alabama where the kevlar coat is produced. It also hopes for
even more engineering, operations, and testing jobs to be created
in Central Florida and Northern California, where the
company hopes to set up operational centers.
quote: ...which can be carried at altitudes of 20,000 feet (6,096 m)...
quote: The airship's outer envelope is made of kevlar, the same material used it bulletproof vests. It is one-sixteenth of an inch thick, but is 10 times as strong as steel in terms of impact resistance.
quote: Well, it is four miles up in the air. It is also going to have almost zero IR signature.
quote: well within range...
quote: Putting a gun on it would be ill advised, that would do little useful given it is so slow targets can move, and would move it from being a secondary priority target to a primary.
quote: as tall as a 23-story skyscraper.
quote: I would definitely call 23 stories highrise, but I think it's a stretch to call it "skyscraper."
quote: cruising speed of over 1000mph