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Aerospace Satellite guided airship

  1. Sep 2, 2004 #1
    I study electrical engineering and I was thinking about some projects.
    I was thinking about constructing a guided zeppelin.
    I would also add a GPS so I could program its course.
    I was thinking about the possible problems. I don't know how could it be controlled in the case of wind.
    I don't have much experiences with such things, so it would be really helpful if anyone could give any advice, remind me of possible problems or comment this project.
    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2004 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Greetings !

    There are often large baloons with surveilence and other equipement
    tied to the ground and without propulsion. You can search the web
    for future projects on powered airships currently in various stages of development by Lockheed, Israelis and others. These are large
    airships which will rize to altitudes of about 20 km where the winds
    are minimum, powered by solar panels with accumulators, with their
    own propulsion and many possible target payloads. They can be
    stationary or cruise to various locations. In many ways, they'll probably
    replace settelites.

    Live long and prosper.
  4. Sep 6, 2004 #3
    High-altitude floating (re)launch pad

    Hi Drag, thanks very much for the valuable info.

    I have refined an idea I posted a while ago re a floating launch pad. This large platform might be made for example from linked/tiled (hexagonal?) helium balloons.

    It would allow cheap private vehicles to rendezvous and refuel. These vehicles might be be just capable of reaching the platform, but on re-fuelling could perhaps then reach orbital velocity.

    Fuel and components could be efficiently floated up in helium dirgibles (as could passengers and craft). Helium/Balloons could perhaps be returned carrying waste products/returning vehicles/passengers.

    Also, larger vehicles could maybe be assembled at this (appropriate) height and launched from there.

    Hope you like this idea, Drag :)

    Anyone, if this idea is any good, if it helps us get out there quicker, can you possibly help achieve critical mass?

    Thanks and regards
  5. Sep 7, 2004 #4


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    Science Advisor

    Greetings !

    I appologize, since I don't know which thread it was so I don't
    quite remember what the highlights were.

    Anyway, a floating platform just saves you the air resistance,
    it just doesn't seem to be worth it for most applications.
    I do however like the ideas about sub-orbital tourists and
    micro-settelites launched this way, if it's perfected further.

    But, here's the good news - there are many many more ways
    to get into space and stay there - so keep trying ! :smile:

    Personally, I believe the next generation launch vehicle should
    for a short flight. Taking off and climbing at maximum rate it will
    achieve a velocity of at least Mach 2+ right along the equator
    and an altitude at the least above 50,000 ft and higher. The main
    body consisting of a rocket (probably two stages) will then detach
    and fire up the rocket engines while the aircraft flies/glides back
    to land. Rocket engines with as high Isp as possible must be used
    to increase the target payload or alternatively the first stage will have
    them new engines which also include an intake for atmospheric oxygen
    (not Scramjet). Very advisable for the first stage rockets to be reusable,
    coming down with parachutes. :shy:

    I believe that currently this approach can be the most effective = cost
    the least, aspecialy in the long term, which can really get us a lot
    more into space. Of course, if NASA uses the "let's build a super-something
    from incredible and unknown stuff that we'll invent on the way and
    forget that someone's paying for it" approach instead of the "point A
    to point B transfer with maximum safety and lowest price" approach,
    then even the best ideas are doomed. :wink:

    Live long and prosper.
  6. Sep 13, 2004 #5
    I don't know about your floating platform idea, but I think I know how to fix the windage problem.

    Just design your control system such that it has zero steady state tracking errors for constant disturbance forces. I would imagine a well designed PD or PID controller could work. See any good control systems text for specifics.
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