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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gigantic airship will also serve as 'stratellite'

World's largest inflatable vehicle will become a stratospheric satellite, say its developers.

BEYOND BLIMPS: The Bullet 580 is 235 feet long. By comparison, the Goodyear Blimp is only 192 feet long. (Photo: chadwho1ders/Flickr)
The heyday of air ships like the ill-fated Hindenburg were thought to be long gone. But decades since the famous airship crashed in New Jersey, the behemoths of the skies are making a comeback. reports that the E-Green technologies Bullet 580, a 235-foot long airship that is as long as a 27-floor skyscraper, is to serve as a stratospheric satellite, or "stratellite." Its developers hope that it will serve as a “high-flying sentinel” in the air.

The gigantic airship recently took six hours to inflate inside Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery, Ala. It is designed to carry payloads of up to 2,000 pounds at altitudes of 20,000 feet.
The ship is made of Kevlar, which has a width just one-16th of an inch thick. Nonetheless, this is 10 times stronger than steel. E-Green Technologies bought the Bullet 580 from its developers, 21st Century Airships, just last year.
The Bullet 580 is intended as a prototype for a series of ships for commercial use. Michael Lawson is chairman and CEO of E-Green Technologies. As he told, "Our airships are radically different designs that move beyond the performance limitations of traditional blimps or zeppelins by combining advanced technology with simple construction and the ability to fuel with algae, protecting our environment.”
The practical uses for the gigantic air ship include military and civilian purposes. reports that different versions of the airship might take on roles for “battlefield surveillance, missile defense warning, electronic countermeasures, weapons platforms, Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) services, weather monitoring, broadcast communications and communications relays.” Further, E-Green Technologies expects that the new series of airships will create aerospace and aviation jobs in both Florida and California, where the business hopes to set up operational centers.