posted on Aug, 14 2012 @ 09:08 PM
reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
Having worked on the preliminary development of this project, I can say that it is/was Never the intention to simply "Float" all the way to
The Tandem was a demostrator; a "Proof of Concept" vehicle designed, primarily to test components and design theories which will be incorporated
into the program's more sophisticated vehicles later on.
Tandem was also somewhat of an "IN YOUR FACE!" shot at the military and large government aerospace contractors like Boeing.
That the Tandem successfully flew to 95,000FT, un-manned, under full control; was able to fire up, and fly, using its own propulsion system
(independent of the prevailing winds aloft); and
do it ALL for about the same cost as a well-equipped Toyota, is an undeniable counter to the
military-back government-contractor produced airships; which have taken decades to design, cost millions (if not Nillions) to develop, and so far have
only just begun to fly...At significantly lower altitudes!
Ultimately, the "Airship-to-Orbit" vehicles will be "Hybrid" Airships: Although they will use lifting cells filled with helium (or hydrogen) to
achieve their initial "insertion" altitude, above an altitude of about 140,000FT or so they will draw upon their unique design features to develop
aerodynamic lift to, at first, augment the dwindling lift provided by the gas cells, and then completely supplant that lift as the thin atsmosphere
gives way to the vacuum of space.
The big V-ships will be using not only highly effecient Ion thrusters for propulsion into space (Ion thrusters would not work in the denser atmosphere
of lower altitudes), but also boundary surface-layer air-flow control to reduce drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency.