In Focus: Solar Airships
One of the most respected names in the field of Aeronautics is Lockheed Martin. The firm has also ventured in areas of information, electronics, and the space systems. A new airship, which has been given the name HALE, has been recently manufactured by the firm. HALE D is the short for high altitude long endurance demonstrator. The big robot airship can easily operate at an altitude of 60,000 feet and has a big robot airship design. A series of photovoltaic cells are contained in the airship.
The blimp works by floating above the jet stream and can anchor itself at one place by using the motors. It can provide a view of around 600 miles and can give warning signals about long and short-range missiles, target and surveillance redemptions, and can do environmental monitoring and provide communications. In short, it can do all the things that a satellite can do.
Thus, the airship can be said to be having similar functionality of the satellites and can be eco-friendly. These are also much user friendly than the satellites. It costs significantly less than its predecessors, which were also designed on the same lines.
The demonstrator version of this machine has been made successfully by the Lockheed Martin company and responses of the people concerned with the project are eagerly awaited.
Need for change
Recently a Spanish company by the name of Turtle airships launched the solar airships of the new generation. These have the lightweight CIG photovoltaic cells, which are used during daytime flying and the modern biodiesel generators are used for night flying periods. Therefore, no huge carbon footprints are added when one travels across his country or ventures the whole world. Most of the jet airliners are having significant ratios of greenhouse gas emissions and are a major cause of worry to those travelers who are environmentally conscious.
There are some other disadvantages associated with the solar powered airships. They provide the travelers lighter-than-air travel and the flights are cheap as these airships use solar power rather than the costly jet fuel.
These airships are designed in such away so that they can travel on lower altitudes also and enable the passengers to get a better view of the landscapes through which they travel. The turtle airships provide for some increased space areas for the passengers also which can be used for movement and the passengers can walk in the spaceship during flights. There are present private staterooms with showers and the large picture windows provided are used for getting some fresh air during the flight periods. Fine dining salons are given in the ship and the passengers can use it for having meals, which are prepared on the on-board kitchens. There are dance floors, libraries, and internet connection, which can be used any time by the passengers on the flight. One great attraction of these airships is that they can stop over the beautiful scenic attractions like volcanoes, wildlife, icebergs, and city lights and then can float slowly over them while the passengers relish the scenes.
There are some cons also. These airships are very slow in comparison to the jet aircrafts. The turtle airships have a top speed of 200 mph. This speed is half the speed of a Boeing 767, which is 530 mph. This means a 6-hour cross-country journey is converted to a 15-hour journey.
1. Airship travelling five-star flying hotel
The airship is very comfortable and can serve the purpose of a five star hotel, which is mobile and so is the design given by industrial designer Thomas Rodemier. It has living modules, which are portable, and the design has features of closed loop systems that have the shape of the airship. This gives enhanced flexibility and comfort to the travelling passengers.
Airships are capable of staying aloft in air for a long interval of time and can stay on the grounds for long duration. While landing on the ground, the airships first deploys the telescopic anchor foots on the ground. The lifting gas helps by keeping the dome in a aloft position. The airship can also automatically rotate around its fulcrum towards the favorable wind direction.
When the stay is for longer periods, the helium can be exchanged with oxygen and when the situation demands, the living floor area and floor can be increased. All the energy required for this hotel is generated in the solar panels, which are located on the airship’s roof.
2. Solar-powered Eunoia airship
The design of the airship Eunoia is given by industrial designer Thomas Thortzi who is based at London. The luxury airship has a zero emission aerial commute. The energy sources are the solar panels, which are mounted on the top of the roof of the airship.
The disposables provide the manufacturing material for this ship. Initially it is going to carry eight people but the technology is about to be improved further, which will enable the ship to carry more than 60 people on the eco trip. The entertainment quotient is improved by mediums like viewing capsules, sun deck, and the viewing room, which is located in the nose of the structure. No airport is nearby Eunoia as it has a mooring mast. The masterpiece is a greener alternative designed for the future.
3. High speed solar airship concept
This concept airship is powered by using solar energy. The conceptual airship is able to haul cargo without pouring any toxic wastes into the atmosphere. Solar power usage makes the ship cost competitive enough for cargo handling. The airship is able to run on faster speeds and is designed by using the off-the-shelf components.
The solar panels, which are located on board the ship, can generate up to 67.2KW of power and on the west-to-east transport, the jet stream can make the airship run on speeds up to 182 mph. The airship is able to sail comfortably in the air at a height of 30,000 feet with a speed of 165 mph. This high altitude flying on the air ship enables it to bypass the bad weather conditions, which can affect its solar panels adversely. The efficiency of these panels is also increased by about 30 percent when the ship enters the colder temperatures that are present at these high altitudes. The ship is likely to have a cost of $5 million and will be able to carry 1,20,000 pounds of payload.
'EcoFriend' is an environmental blog. The idea behind EcoFriend is simple: to inform and educate consumers who love to possess the latest gadgets and products available in the market and who are also concerned about the environment around them.
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