Fri, Jul 09, 2004
It's An Airship Designed For Homeland Security Missions
It looks more like a very big volleyball than a blimp, but the
designers of a spherical airship say it's the very latest in
The six-story airship flew for three hours over southern
Maryland Wednesday at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet. Built by
Georgia-based Techsphere Systems International and integrated by
Sierra Nevada Corporation, the round blimp has several advantages
over its cigar-shaped predecessors, according to designer Hokan
"It's more maneuverable than a traditional airship," he said.
"Cigar ships can only go to 6,000 feet." The airship he designed
has flown to 22,000 feet, setting a world record. He was quoted by
the Washington Post.
It can be tied down with mere rope, whereas a traditional blimp
has to be moored to a mast. Standard blimps have to be assembled
after they're shipped. The Techsphere model comes ready to fly,
right out of the box.
"You can take it in the container and be flying in 24 hours,"
Colting told the Post.
The airship can fly for 48 hours straight, making it a prime
candidate for unmanned sentry missions along America's coasts and
borders, the company said. It's made of both Kevlar and Mylar,
making it lightweight and tough at the same time.
While Wednesday's trials were manned by a two-person crew,
company executives said an unmanned version should be ready for
flight by mid-October.
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