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Homework Help: Stratospheric airship design

  1. Aug 28, 2007 #1
    Hi guys,

    Its been awhile since my last post. Well, things have changed since i last visited this forum =) Not sure where do i exactly post this enquiry about my schoolwork but i'll just try my luck here.

    Yup, i'm taking aerospace engineering, year 1. Its been two weeks into school and i've been slapped with a project to be completed within the next two weeks which will contribute to my final grades. I was to come up with a design for a stratospheric airship with the respective details as follows:

    "Develop a concept for a high-altitude, long-endurance airship to monitor the
    weather and pollution emissions over SEA. The airship is targeted to operate at the
    18 km altitude mark and is required to operate continuously for months at a time. You are to
    detail your concept in a report of about 15-20 pages in length. In your report, you should
    address/include the following (not necessarily in the following order)"
    a) Introduction
    b) Identification of the payload and estimation of the vehicle mass. Include a mass
    breakdown for the airship.
    c) Considerations for the operating environment
    d) Discussion and selection of the conceptual design (include hand-drawn sketches of the
    proposed configuration with approximate layout of the payload, balloon(s), control,
    power and propulsion systems).
    e) From the vehicle mass estimate, propose how you will generate the lift required and
    estimate the volume of the vehicle.
    f) Proposed power and propulsion system.
    g) Method for attitude control and manoeuvring (include estimates of drag, thrust and the
    expected vehicle velocity during such manoeuvres).
    h) Any other considerations and discussions.

    I am not looking for answers here, merely some guidelines as to how do i go about doing this. After all, i know next to nothing about this matter. Two weeks of lessons didnt provide me with substantial knowledge at all, so please, i implore upon u to give me some ideas on even how to start on this project.

    I have done some research on stratospheric vehicles, and it has begin to shed some light on the issue thanks to the internet. But more detailed technical knowledge are still needed. like estimating the mass, how should the propulsion system work etc etc.

    Thank you guys!

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The first step would be to find the density and temperature of the air at 18km
    That will allow you work out how much volume of lifting gas you need for the payload.
  4. Aug 28, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Start with high altitude balloons, and see where that leads.
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