Stratospheric airship

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Main article: Airship

A stratospheric airship is a powered airship designed to fly at very high altitudes (30,000–70,000 ft or 10 – 20 km). Most designs are remote operated aircraft/unmanned aerial vehicles (ROA/UAV). To date none of these designs have received approval from the FAA to fly in U.S. airspace.

Stratospheric airship projects[edit]

Stratospheric airship efforts are being developed in at least 5 countries.[1]

The first stratospheric powered airship flight took place in 1969 reaching 70,000 feet (21.3 km) for two hours with a 5 lb (2.2 kg) payload.[2] On December 4, 2005 a team led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), sponsored by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command (ASMDC) successfully demonstrated powered flight of the HiSentinel stratospheric airship at an altitude of 74,000 feet (22.6 km).[3]

Lockheed Martin has been contracted by the United States Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency to construct a high-altitude airship (HAA) to enhance its Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).[4]

Japan[5] and South Korea are also planning to deploy HAA's. South Korea has been conducting flight tests for several years with a vehicle from Worldwide Aeros.[6]


  1. ^ "Airships: Making a Comeback". Aviation Today. 1 April 2004. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  2. ^ "Aerostar International, Station Keeping Airships". Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  3. ^ "Southwest Research Institute News". 17 November 2005. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  4. ^ "High Altitude Airship (HAA)". Lockheed Martin. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  5. ^ "Expectations soar for our huge new airship". Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 2007. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  6. ^ "South Korean High-Altitude Airship (HAA) Envelope Test". Worldwide Aeros Corp. 30 August 2002. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 

See also[edit]