This Space Blimp Will Watch You from The Stratosphere

This Space Blimp Will Watch You from The Stratosphere

The StratoBus is a blimpy piece of surveillance technology that will hang out in the lower reaches of the stratosphere.

When I think about dirigibles, which happens more often than you might think, the only real point of reference that I have is the Goodyear blimp. So, when I learned that a French-Italian aerospace company is working on an airship that will patrol the lower stratosphere, I thought "how am I going to see that during a Yankees' game?"

Obviously the StratoBus won't be an effective tire advertisement, which is why surveillance, telecommunications, and navigation will be its primary functions. Thales Alenia Space, the company behind the project, predicts that the blimp will behave like a hyper-mobile, low-level satellite.

"StratoBus covers a wide range of potential applications, including border and maritime surveillance, boosting GSM network capacity for public events and GPS augmentation over areas of dense traffic" explains the Thales' website.

The project has attracted the attention of several research and development companies that specialize in aerospace and naval technology. So far, Thales has partnered with Airbus Defence & Space, Zodiac Marine and CEA-Liten.

Given all of the recent surveillance controversies, I can't help but feel a little uneasy about a new piece of nosey technology. Though, I still haven't figured out why anyone would ever want to park a blimp above my house.

Source: Thales Group

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Oh the humanity.

It had to be said. Don't judge me!

Anyway, it's a pretty neat piece of tech. And just like every piece of tech it can be used for good or evil. Let's just hope it will be used for more good than evil.

I like dirigibles but I think this is a bit overboard (it doesn't need to fly THAT high) and the design is clearly aimed at military use. While they showed many possible (and great) civilian uses, I think something like this will mainly be used for the military. I'd expect this to be a lot cheaper than a U2 or a military satellite plus it can be there 24/7.
At this height it'll also be nearly impossible to shoot down (except by Russia, China and NATO). Plus a military model would likely have anti missile counter-measures on board.

But the military would get this either way, so let's hope something good comes out of it. Maybe a few of those will be available for civilian use like research or disaster relief.

so instead of the personal blimps we see in many alternate timeline films we will now have...space blimps?
i am ok with that.

The helium cost is only going to make that more cost-prohibitive as time goes on.
Especially since it's impossible to effectively reclaim escaped helium. (it doesn't bond to anything so there's no chance of it attaching and falling back to earth on heavier particles via subsidence)

Unless those things are loaded with Hydrogen. In which case...boom.
Big boom potential.

This is advertisement done right. Impressive video!

Fail for not making it whale shaped. Though with the cost of putting satellites in orbit, this might become common for both spying and broadcasting Game of Thrones. I don't think geosynchronous orbit is close enough for surveillance and the lack of control over typical low orbit satillites means we'll see plenty of these with logos of the US Armed Forces and NSA if the project kicks off.

Atmos Duality:
The helium cost is only going to make that more cost-prohibitive as time goes on.
Especially since it's impossible to effectively reclaim escaped helium. (it doesn't bond to anything so there's no chance of it attaching and falling back to earth on heavier particles via subsidence)

Unless those things are loaded with Hydrogen. In which case...boom.
Big boom potential.

Maybe this will stop the US Government from selling off our stockpile at fire sale prices. As stated in the link the price of a ballon would be US$100 if the idiots in Congress weren't giving it away. Though, I can see making some out of hydrogen and flying those over a sensitive enemy area. That gives it the Alien defense mechanism; "you don't dare kill it."

Atmos Duality:
The helium cost is only going to make that more cost-prohibitive as time goes on.
Especially since it's impossible to effectively reclaim escaped helium. (it doesn't bond to anything so there's no chance of it attaching and falling back to earth on heavier particles via subsidence)

Unless those things are loaded with Hydrogen. In which case...boom.
Big boom potential.

This is only if there's a viable oxygen level/mix for it to react with.

weirdguy:

Atmos Duality:
The helium cost is only going to make that more cost-prohibitive as time goes on.
Especially since it's impossible to effectively reclaim escaped helium. (it doesn't bond to anything so there's no chance of it attaching and falling back to earth on heavier particles via subsidence)

Unless those things are loaded with Hydrogen. In which case...boom.
Big boom potential.

This is only if there's a viable oxygen level/mix for it to react with.

The Ozone layer is in the Stratosphere...though I wonder if 20km is above it.

Whelp, there is so much good potential in this thing but the hands of evil men are already smearing the original vision.

nice i imagine these being far cheaper than satellites

The blimp is actually a highly-efficient robot made of Upsydasian designed to confound and confuse everyone.

Or rather, this is awesome and could be very useful. Probably alot less expensive to put to work and keep at work than the installation and maintenance of a satellite, which involves the lengthy and costly process of sending people up there to take care of it. That's alot of metal and equipment we'd be saving, to say nothing of LOX. Won't be any space debris, 'cept maybe for a one-in-a-million chance of getting hit by a meteorite. Presumably, when the thing needs work done on it, it will return under its own power, something a satellite can never do. Of course, it might need more fuel for the actual flying aspect, but this is perhaps offset by what it saves? I dunno. Looks like fun, though.

 

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