Fear of Zeppelins is a bit, y'know, old hat. Kind of went out with the Hindenburg. (True story, my great-grandad cut himself shaving when he saw the Graf Zeppelin sailing past his house all unexpected-like. As a WW1 vet, it was a bit of a nasty surprise).
Um, how would lighter than air craft get to (never mind beyond) earth orbit?
8/1/2011 4:41:27 AM
Well if these "hypersonic-shaped with carbon-fiber skins -- have been flying ops for years", the big freight airship is a bit late. Not to mention the wrong size, shape, and travelling, er, slightly too slowly...
Not a very good cover then, is it?
8/1/2011 4:42:22 AM
Too much sci-fi, baby.
8/1/2011 4:51:00 AM
See, this is the problem with you lot. A secret aircraft is unveiled, but that's not good enough. It has to be a cover for something more.
The same thing happened when they finally declassified the stealth bomber, or even the SR-71. Both were test flown out of Area 51. Real aircraft out of a real facility. They were responsible for massive upshots in UFO sightings in the area during their test periods. Of course, the government denied this, to the point of denying the existence of Area 51 itself. Anybody who had seen the UFO or believed in the base was laughed at and called crazy or a liar. And then the aircraft were declassified, proving that people really had been seeing unidentified aircraft, they weren't insane or liars, and the government really had been hiding something. But that wasn't good enough. No. People wanted flying saucers and aliens. And the crazy persisted.
This is a problem with conspiracy theorists in general. Look at Roswell (Project Mogul). Look at Project MK-ULTRA. Real things. Real cover-ups. The crazy conspiracy theorists make it impossible for anybody to be taken seriously on the occasion that they actually ARE on to something. Because as soon as someone uses the word "cover-up" or "conspiracy" they immediately think of this lot, with aliens and lizards and chemtrails and whatever other nonsense, and that makes it damn near impossible to get anywhere near the actual and less entertaining truth.
8/1/2011 5:24:50 AM
aerospace craft of the almost-lighter-than-air type
How can an airship be "almost" lighter than air? If so, it's not getting off the ground.
possibly to and from earth orbit and beyond.
Being lighter than air doesn't work in space.
8/1/2011 6:28:52 AM
ooooooh i want one for my birthday
8/1/2011 8:22:39 AM
I think the OP, in their own clumsy way, is trying to talk about "Aurora". Within the aerospace community the question of whether such a vehicle exists is in little doubt, that it has capabilities in excess of the SR-71 is also not in doubt, but the general consensus is that it is little more than a really fast aircraft used as a reconnaissance platform. Were this not so, the US (through DARPA and NASA) would not be spending vast amounts of money on X-programs into high-hypersonic research, some of which is "grey" (as in not really public). The same thing happened back in the Seventies with "Have Blue" which eventually emerged as the F-117 Stealth Fighter -- a couple of public accidents and the curtain began to be lifted. Now the once-exotic F-117 is due to be retired in the near future because the F-22 and F-35 have almost as good, if not as good, stealth as the thirty-year-old Stealth Fighter.
That is the way of these things. Eventually Aurora will be made public and the conspiracists will have to find something else to obsess about.
8/1/2011 9:16:03 AM
@rallymodeller: I strongly suspect that Aurora is nowadays used as a bit of a honeypot in order to weed out industrial espionage agents who aren't exactly clever.
@Doubting Thomas: I think he means by "almost-lighter-than-air" that it would be a regular aircraft uses lighter-than-air gases to fill gaps that normally would be unused to reduce weight and possibly to reduce various fire related risks if Helium is used.
8/1/2011 9:59:41 AM
Actually, this was secret at the time of release because the ship was originally a bidder for a high altitude, super-long-endurance wide-area surveillance airship. It lost to a catamaran blimp. With mud on their face, Lockheed Martin converted it to a heavy cargo ship. They're selling well in Canada.
Funnily enough, almost all airships under development for applications other than advertising, including this so-called "cover", are not technically airships at all. They're hybrid aircraft. For instance, the cargo ship is a hybrid between three blimps, a VTOL and lifting body aircraft sitting atop four hovercraft. It's cargo capacity and efficiency is therefore greatly increased with only the energy it takes to move forward being converted into lift. That's why hybrid aircraft in general can lift many times more than planes and helicopters.
Of course, he's still batshit crazy. An airship can NOT fly at 100,000 feet and still do what he says it can do, much less SPACE. At those altitudes the Helium's lift is practically worthless, and at sea level the Heluim would take up only the tiniest fraction of the hull, and the rest would be filled with air that weighs the ship down. Of course, if it was filled with hot air or steam, which is twice as powerful as hot air(but only 2/3 as powerful as Helium), that wouldn't matter and it could go as high as it damn well pleased, but come on. The idea of a STEAM-FILLED ultra-high tech super secret government aircraft is too funny to be true. And you'd think someone would see it when it lands. Airships are kind of difficult to stay hidden.
8/1/2011 10:11:20 AM
You're partly right. Some designs, like the Aereon, call for a more airplane-like than blimp-like hybrid where they basically just take a delta or a flying wing plane and fill their vast, ordinarily empty spaces with lift gas cells so that they can build them up to gargantuan proportions that are possible for airships and Zeppelins but impossible for ordinary planes because the gas basically reverses the square-cube penalty and makes it a boon instead. That said, such designs have only flown once, and that was decades ago. They just didn't attract enough money.
8/1/2011 11:17:41 AM
... Wait, why is this so ominous, again?
8/1/2011 5:55:43 PM
Raised by Horses
That better not be the opening paragraph of your new sci-fi novel. It'll never get by any publisher, and as for readers... I almost fell asleep three times as I made my way through it.
8/1/2011 6:43:38 PM
8/1/2011 7:37:59 PM
Expounding on my previous statements, there is absolutely nothing to fear from blimps. There is absolutely nothing to fear from blimps. There is absolutely nothing to fear from blimps. This man is delusional.
The airships you see in the sky are our FRIENDS. The grand old US military has recently been spending billions and developing a new fleet of Zeppelins at a frantic pace. This is normal, and it is for YOUR safety. So the next time you see the following blimps, salute the service they are doing for this great and mighty nation of ours in the ongoing War on Terror.
•The Blue Devil mothership supercomputer blimp
•The Lem-vee Long Endurance Multi-intel Vehicle
• The JSTARS radar aerostat
• The JLENS anti-nuclear ICBM aerostat
• The ISIS near-space solar powered integrated radar-is-structure blimp
• The PTDS spy aerostat
• The HAA high-altitude surveillance airship
• The Argus One high altitude surveillance platform/coms relay
• The MZ-3A sensor airship
• The HiSentinel 80 high altitude solar powered spy airship
• The Aeroscraft "Pelican"- hybrid Zeppelin, application unknown
• The RAID rapid deployable spy aerostat
• The TARS Tactical radar aerostat
• The REAP surveillance aerostat
• The Polar 400 Blackwater spy blimp
• The Stratellite high altitude coms relay/surveillance airship
• The SkySat medium-altitude surveillance airship/coms relay
• and many more!
Fly on, patriots!
8/2/2011 2:37:09 AM
@J. James: I estimate that one third of those end up being cancelled and the rest are going only to be used to start and end various wars depending on who the baddie of the day happens to be. Nothing patriotic about it, just something to make various defense contractors happy.
8/2/2011 8:31:45 AM
I don't think you understand. These are the ones that already exist. I didn't include concept vehicles or ones without a contract. A few haven't been deployed yet, and some are still finishing construction, but all of them do exist in some form or another. There are dozens or hundreds of most of the ones I mentioned already in operation along the border, in Florida, and of course many hundreds in Afganistan and Iraq.
And yes, the defense contractors are quite happy to help their country save money by using airships. They are our friends up in the sky, keeping us safe and secure beneath their all-knowing gaze. It only takes one to keep an entire city safe. That's why that anonymous poster was being so naïve; he thought, like so many others, that his quite imaginary triangular airships were out to do him harm. In reality, other airships are protecting him from terrorism, and of the airships I mentioned only a few can reach just 75,000 feet, not 100,000 feet or SPACE. :D
8/2/2011 10:46:43 AM
@J. James: You have no idea how much i laughed at the thought of a defense contractor asking their best customer to save money.
8/2/2011 2:20:36 PM
However funny it may be, I must say that I find the idea of a "steam-filled ultra-high tech super secret government aircraft" to be awesome. STEAM-PUNK HERE WE COME!
8/3/2011 10:22:02 AM
Actually, it does make a sort of sense, now that you think about it. Steam can be manufactured by the ship's solar-powered Hydrogen fuel cells, or, of course, steam engines(without needing the compressor, obviously, steam engines are VERY competitive). Steam is the third most powerful lift gas, lifting up to 1.6 pounds per m3, 75% of Helium, and is more than twice as powerful as hot air while using only 30-40 percent of the fuel to maintain it's buoyancy, thanks to the same lightweight insulated fabrics necessary to contain the gaseous water.
It would also eliminate the balloonades necessary to allow the expansion of a static gas like Hydrogen. With steam, 100% of the hull could be filled with gas instead of 70%. Ballast would be a thing of the past. If it is a hybrid, the drawbacks would disappear almost completely, because 40-70 percent of the ship would be hoisted aloft by aerodynamics like a plane, with the added benefits of having much less area for heat loss.
So, maybe not so silly after all...
8/3/2011 11:21:26 AM
There aren't really any redundant spaces in an aircraft, any space big enough is filled with fuel, and the remaining spaces could be filled with, say, helium, but the difference would be so negligible as to be pointless, imagine the servicing man-hours needed to keep all those spaces gas-tight and charged!
I know first hand how much maintenance aircraft need (I'm an aircraft engineer) and it just wouldn't be worth the trouble.
8/3/2011 11:56:36 AM
Aereon(that's what I was referring to) didn't take an ordinary flying wing/lifting body and put Helium in it's nooks and crannies, they took a ZEPPELIN-SIZED airplane and filled it's cathedral-like spaces with Helium. Theoretically. The Aereon-26 manned flying model didn't even have gas at all.
Also, the bombers in the Cold War had their tires inflated with Helium. It let them carry an extra 140 pounds of fuel.
8/3/2011 1:17:42 PM
Steampunk anime as reality, I think. LTAs as space vehicles sounds intriguing , though.
8/3/2011 10:12:45 PM
It IS cool, but even though truth is stranger than fiction and there ARE indeed space blimps, blimps can't fucking fly in space! They can't ascend past the upper limit of the atmosphere! Even if they could, you have to wonder what this retard thinks that they would DO up there. IT'S A BLIMP. Not exactly known for their blistering speed. They're not going anywhere up there anytime fast.
That said, werewolf, you're probably wondering what the 4 realz space blimp is. Well, technically, it's not a SPACE blimp per se, but a Martian blimp. For exploration. Still a concept, naturally, but intriguing given the unbearable slowness and issues of terrestrial exploration.
8/3/2011 10:42:13 PM
I've built an almost-lighter-than-water boat that can sail from sea-level to the upper stratosphere. I'm now working on a definitely-heavier-than-rock car that can drive anywhere from ground to the upper mantle.
8/4/2011 3:57:19 AM
It's not lighter than air, looks like an airplane, but floats like an airship and goes to space like a rocket.
It's the Magic Airship!
By the way, someone call NASA and tell them they've done it wrong with the Space Shuttle, zeppelins are the way to go.
8/5/2011 5:03:44 AM