Log in to use our free company, program and sector update tracker feature.

October 2006 edition

High Altitude Airship looks to create its own space

By Dan Cook

Its designers say it is a “great marriage” of old and new technologies.

But Lockheed Martin’s unmanned High Altitude Airship (HAA), which will hover on the edge of space for up to a year, is pushing the envelope of airship design.

The HAA, developed for the US Missile Defence Agency, is still at least five years from production, and the prototype will not fly for at least two. But the estimated $100m programme, if the U.S. government funds it to completion, will usher in a new era for airships.

Each HAA will be able to survey 750 sq. miles of the earth’s surface from its perch at 60,000 feet (20km). It will stay in a “geostationary” position – orbiting with the earth to stay “still” above an imaginary fixed point on the ground. This allows it to communicate with stationary communications devices on the ground, which would be unable to focus their antennae on a “moving” target.


Of course, satellites already do all this. The HAA’s advantage, however, is that it is closer to the ground, and so able to “see” much more, and in greater detail.

Isaac Porche, an analyst at the Rand Corporation, told Airframer: “Airships have always been a tough sell [in Congress]. There aren’t too many reference points. But what are the fixed wing alternatives, as sensing and communications relay platforms? The Global Hawk - but it’s expensive to manufacture.”

The other advantage of the airship platform will be that it “stays up there” and is less vulnerable to malfunction and attack, whe....

Full report (1123 words) is available by subscription:  

Tell a friend/colleague about this story:



 Contact details from our directory:
Lockheed Martin Corporation
RAND Corporation Personnel Consultants, Training Consultants, Management Consultants, Environmental Consultants, Logistics Consultants, Reliability & Maintainability Services, Management Studies, Research/Consulting Services

Subscribers are able to access the full text of articles on this web site, and in a downloadable PDF newsletter. If you have a subscription already then please log in, otherwise see our latest subscription offers.

Enhanced listings:

Airmo Inc. Pressure Technologies
Airmo manufactures systems and tools for hydrostatic testing, end forming, tube expansion, and high-pressure accessories to 60,000psi (4,137bar).

Handtmann A-Punkt Automation GmbH
Handtmann 5-axis HSC/HPC machining centres are the ideal solution for a variety of applications in aerospace manufacturing, providing maximum productivity.

Dymax Corporation
A leading manufacturer of advanced light-curable adhesives, maskants, coatings, oligomers, light-curing equipment, and fluid dispense systems.

Qualmark Corporation
Qualmark is your industry leading manufacturer and partner for accelerated reliability testing, HALT and HASS, for all commercial and defense avionics.

USA Borescopes
USA Borescopes is a global supplier of world class visual inspection equipment. We are the one stop source for aviation professionals.

See our advertising tariff.


data pages remaining in monthly quota for non-subscribers

© Copyright of Airframer Limited, operated under licence by Stansted News Limited 2017. Terms & Conditions of reading.