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High Altitude Airship
Lockheed Martin is developing a high-altitude airship (HAA) for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. It could be used as a surveillance platform, telecommunications relay, weather observer or telescope platform. The 400-foot long, 140-foot diameter airship is expected to float for about a month above the jet stream, at an altitude of 60,000 feet. The HAA could observe an area of 600 square miles and millions of cubic miles of airspace. The prototype and test delivery is scheduled for 2009.
DynalifterAnother concept is the hybrid airship. These ships get a large portion of their lift from their wings and hull, so they can't be called airships. But they do solve typical airship problems involving takeoff, landing and ground operations.
The Ohio Airship's Dynalifter was subcontracted to defense contractors Conceptual Research Corporation, Analytical Methods and Composite Engineering. The companies have developed models from a 120-foot-long prototype (left) to a 990-foot freighter.
One of Howard Hughes' last projects was to work on the development of the cargo-carrying vessel called the Megalifter hybrid. These hybrid freighters could be a boon to the environment by taking thousands of trucks off the highway.
Aeros has planned a 850-foot-long luxury-liner airship, called Aeroscraft. A Rolls Royce engine will help it reach a speed of 152 knots, and the airship is expected to comfortably seat up to 200 passengers. Pilots will be able to shut off the engines to gracefully float past interesting sights.