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'StratoBus' drone-satellite hybrid to provide new level of surveillance

Published time: March 20, 2014 20:07
Edited time: March 22, 2014 15:56

A new project of an autonomous airship – a hybrid between a drone and a satellite – has been developed in France. The 'StratoBus' dirigible drone will be able to carry out long endurance observation operating at an altitude of about 20 kilometers.

The new breed of autonomous zeppelin has a mission of “observation, security, telecommunications, broadcasting, and navigation,” developers said.

Designed to be between 70 and 100 meters long and 20 to 30 meters in diameter, made of carbon fiber, and equipped with two motors, the StratoBus will be able to operate at an altitude of about 20 kilometers in the lower reaches of the stratosphere – above air traffic and jet streams.

The airship will be able to take higher resolution images and maintain a stronger communications system, as it will roam airspace much lower than actual satellites.

StratoBus has the potential to include a wide range of applications like “border and maritime surveillance, boosting GSM network capacity for public events and GPS augmentation over areas of dense traffic,” Thales Alenia Space – the organization leading the project alongside partners Airbus Defence & Space, Zodiac Marine, and CEA-Liten – said in a press release.

Developers said the airship – equipped with solar panels and an ultra-light reversible fuel cell for energy storage – will be able to endure missions for a year, while its lifespan about five years. The first prototype is scheduled to be rolled out within the next five years.

A similar project was previously developed by Google. Project Loon was designed to connect people in rural and remote areas through a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space.

Comments (12)


Ksaint3244 26.03.2014 14:50

[quote name='BillK' time='22.03.2014 17:40']

Th ey would be quite Easy to shoot down actually.
20,000 meters is really not very away. Even now there are MiG rides to the edge of space just outside of Moscow for $25K

[/quot e]

You must be another Lenny or a terrorist why the F..kwould you want to shoot at the zeppelin you must either have palye too much GTA:V or your just a stupid monkey.


Leo 22.03.2014 17:47

Watch the video, the missions do not primarily include watching the individual but ships (and hopefully flights) as well. Thats a good thing. Surprised y'all wanna get rid of phone signals, mobile internet and GPS!


mergon 21.03.2014 08:18

When something like aviation turns full circle you just know that resources are running out , other countries are building the Zeppelins they will anchored in cities and towns and the countryside to high to shoot at but high enough to scan the area with its hi def cameras and its mobile phone scanners .

They are cheap to run and the government think that because its a balloon it will be more acceptable than a drone ,they actually think that when spying on people image matters !
It just means that if someone needs to bring one down they will have use a home made drone to target the loon snoop !

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