Heavy-lifting balloons: Flying saucers | The Economist

 

You’ve got to love it…

 

 

The company is developing a piloted dirigible capable of carrying loads of up to 150 tonnes over distances as great as 2,000km (1,240 miles) at a speed of 45 knots (83kph). This would permit the craft to transport not just hefty components, but entire buildings, to remote areas. The company envisages modules ranging from rural hospitals and disaster-relief centres to luxury airborne cruise ships.

Rather than use either a spherical or a cigar-shaped aerostat, as the gas-filled envelope of a lighter-than-air craft is known, Skylifter has developed a discus-shaped one. This means that like a traditional, round ballon—and unlike the elongated dirigible blimps that have hitherto been used as serious modes of commercial transport—the craft is “directionless”. In other words, it is oblivious of where the wind happens to be blowing from, which simplifies load-handling in places where the wind is fickle. At the same time, being flatter than a sphere, the aerostat acts less like a sail than a traditional balloon does, making it easier to steer. The flying-saucer shape also acts as a parachute, affording greater control during descent.

via Heavy-lifting balloons: Flying saucers | The Economist.

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2 Responses to Heavy-lifting balloons: Flying saucers | The Economist

  1. did you ever hear about the “cargolifter”?

    This will not work.
    Which gas would they use? what about the extra lift without freight?

    But nice SciFi.

  2. eclipsenow says:

    Why won’t it work? Why is gas an issue? There are a variety of gases we can use after helium is gone.

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