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