DiriSolar - When do we get dirigibles?

FutureBoy

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Just ran across the DiriSolar project.

I like that it is solar-powered. I remember as a kid, dirigible projects were talked about but never thought of as something that would be real. Then a few (20?) years ago I started hearing about them again. It was always a project that was up and coming. And there was always some new reason why they would be useful. Super heavy lift, no runways, remote delivery, luxury travel, cell/internet tower replacement, environmental monitoring. And now it looks like solar-powered luxury tourism.

I'd really like to take a ride in something like this someday. But someone might need to wake me up when something is available because I'm getting pretty tired waiting for the chance.

 

ldjessee

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Fuel prices used to be the only driving factor into these research projects. Now climate change also factors in...

And the land needed for airports is also becoming a factor. I would not be shocked to see not only a focusing on fuel efficiency, but also short take off and landing commercial travel aircraft.
 

Crissa

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Dirigibles have the advantage of being able to move slowly and cheaply enough to dock with drones. No need to land - drone pops up, grabs the cargo container and the drops back down to an urban distribution point.

-Crissa
 

CyberOwl

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Huge Airship fan here...

First check out the Airlander. US military developed a huge airship at a cost of something like a billion dollars, then sold it to a British company for like less than 100 million. They've been developing it for a while. It has an emergency 'zipper' along the top in case it breaks free of its mooring, the gas can be released before the thing flies away, which did happen a few years ago.

About ten years ago there was a company called Airship Ventures operating a rigid hull zeppelin out of Moffett Field in Silicon Valley. People could pay $500 to go on a ride. They used to fly over my house on the way down to the site of the Macon wreck. Completely silent and spooky. It could be right above you and you wouldn't know it. Unfortunately they went out of business. One of my biggest life regrets was missing a chance to ride over California in a zeppelin.

Speaking of catching drones, check out the USS Macon (and her sister the Akron), technically the first US aircraft carriers. They would actually launch and retrieve Sparrowhawk planes from the airship! Both ships eventually crashed, the first killing all but two, and the second killing only two. There was in fact a guy who lived through both crashes. Wilder I believe was his name.

Did you know the Germans were able to master airship technology through a little known material science breakthrough. As it turns out Hydrogen (which was used at the time) is very difficult to keep in a bladder. The molecules are so small they passed through any known material, causing eventual deflation over time. The Germans figured out that cow stomachs had a lining that prevented the escape of the gas. Hundreds of laborers were put to work sewing 250,000 cow stomachs together to make huge bladders big enough to fill a zeppelin!
 
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Crissa

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Yeah, the airship company that was out of Silicon Valley was cool. Alas, they didn't get any long-term contracts before the Great Recession. Goodyear stole their technology and didn't pay them a dime.

I miss them. And Hanger One really needs its skin again.

-Crissa
 

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