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MSNBC: Airship groomed for flight to edge of space
MSNBC ^ | May 21, 2004 | Alan Boyle

Posted on 05/23/2004 6:08:47 AM PDT by mikegi

Next month, a V-shaped airship bigger than a baseball diamond is due to rise from the West Texas desert to an altitude of 100,000 feet (30.5 kilometers), navigate by remote control, linger above the clouds and drift back to earth.

For the U.S. Air Force, the feat will demonstrate the feasibility of a new kind of semi-autonomous craft that could hover in "near space," to do reconnaissance and relay battlefield communications.

(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: airship; balloon; flight
I can see the blimp that flies around 100Kft but I don't understand how they'll ever go from there to orbit. Anyway, I think the stationary, long-term eye-in-the-sky blimp is a great idea. I assume it would have a very good load capacity which would allow high resolution still and motion cameras. We could park several of them over Iraq hotspots for continuous monitoring.
1 posted on 05/23/2004 6:08:48 AM PDT by mikegi
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To: mikegi

They should fill it with hydrogen and wait for a high-altitude lightning-strike. I'd watch . . . .


2 posted on 05/23/2004 6:15:31 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: mikegi

3 posted on 05/23/2004 6:18:14 AM PDT by martin_fierro (</pith>)
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To: mikegi
Ion engines are supposed to drive the thing into orbit over 3 to 9 days, according to the article. Ion engines use electrical fields to push tiny amounts of fuel, in the form of plasma gas (electrically-charged gas, like what fills flourescent light tubes). The thrust is very small, but these engines are extremely efficient. They can operate for days or months and velocity gradually increases.

Actually, Darth Vader flew a TIE fighter, didn't he? TIE stands for Twin Ion Engines.

4 posted on 05/23/2004 6:18:39 AM PDT by megatherium
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To: megatherium

.

Looks like CHEECH & CHONG's...


...TIE Stick..?

.


5 posted on 05/23/2004 6:53:47 AM PDT by ALOHA RONNIE (Vet-Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.LZXRAY.com)
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To: mikegi
Already covered at The Nav Log
6 posted on 05/23/2004 7:00:53 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: mikegi
"We're looking at satellite-like capabilities," he said. The Ascender could loiter over, say, a suspected weapons research site and watch for trucks moving in and out — or provide a high-altitude relay for battlefield communications. "A commander can talk with his troops on the other side of a hill or a mountain range," Blackington said.

Well, I'll ne damned! There's a company called Global Tel (GTEL) on the NASDAQ Bulletin Board that talks of "stratellites". They plan to put units like these in low fixed orbit and use them for cell phone communication.

I thought it was all pie-in-the-sky (ahem) and too far-fetched. I was wondering how they could keep an unmanned vehicle stationary and what kind of low-fuel-use engine they would use.

If it pans out, it looks like there's lots of neat stuff ahead of us.

On the military side, I wondered if the could have some device hover over any Iraqi town and when some raghead stepped out in the street waving an RPG for the camerman, a red dot would mysteriously appear on his breast just before he disappeared in a pink cloud. Bet it would work wonders.

7 posted on 05/23/2004 8:10:44 AM PDT by Oatka
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To: mikegi
"We're looking at satellite-like capabilities," he said. The Ascender could loiter over, say, a suspected weapons research site and watch for trucks moving in and out — or provide a high-altitude relay for battlefield communications. "A commander can talk with his troops on the other side of a hill or a mountain range," Blackington said.

Well, I'll ne damned! There's a company called Global Tel (GTEL) on the NASDAQ Bulletin Board that talks of "stratellites". They plan to put units like these in low fixed orbit and use them for cell phone communication.

I thought it was all pie-in-the-sky (ahem) and too far-fetched. I was wondering how they could keep an unmanned vehicle stationary and what kind of low-fuel-use engine they would use.

If it pans out, it looks like there's lots of neat stuff ahead of us.

On the military side, I wondered if the could have some device hover over any Iraqi town and when some raghead stepped out in the street waving an RPG for the camerman, a red dot would mysteriously appear on his breast just before he disappeared in a pink cloud. Bet it would work wonders.

8 posted on 05/23/2004 8:10:46 AM PDT by Oatka
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To: mikegi

cool.


9 posted on 05/23/2004 9:36:05 AM PDT by redbaiter
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To: mikegi

datum.


10 posted on 05/23/2004 12:18:15 PM PDT by King Prout (the difference between "trained intellect" and "indoctrinated intellectual" is an Abyssal gulf)
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To: mikegi

This looks awesome. The big drawback I see is orbiting space debris. These would big bigger, more vulnerable targets for the bits of junk orbiting earth.


11 posted on 05/23/2004 5:00:42 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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