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The company Space Data operates a network of high-altitude, balloon-borne transceivers (below right) known as SkySite Platforms. The balloons, which serve as wireless towers, are launched every 8 to 12 hours to keep the network running. Each SkySite Platform rises to an altitude of 60,000 to 100,000 feet, from which it can cover an area 420 miles in diameter.
The Aerobe blimp may never make it beyond the drawing board, but scientists are seriously considering using it to fly over uncharted planets and over moons that contain atmospheres--such as Mars, or Saturn's Titan. The model would be about 33 feet long and filled with helium. The blimp would have a propeller, which would let it move at about six miles per hour, and it would also have wheels that would let it land if necessary.
Lockheed Martin developed this high-altitude 56,000-cubic-foot tethered aerostat surveillance system for deployment in Iraq. The aerostats, equipped with various sensors, will provide a persistent surveillance capability for the defense of ground forces and high-value assets in Baghdad.