In the earlier day of aviation, blimps were a popular way to travel in the air until the Hindenburg disaster occurred. After that the uproar over the safety of passengers and crew forced them out of existence.
Now, a Chinese Airship called the Yuanmeng is ready to bring back the trend of airships in style. This ship is 75 meters long, 22 meters high and can carry a payload of 4.5-6.3 metric tonnes.
Supporting this capacity is approximately 18,000 cubic meters of helium, which is a lot safer when compared to hydrogen. For movement and electronics, the ship derives it’s power from a large array of solar panels fitted on the top side of the ship, thus making it entirely self sufficient.
In order to test its systems and capabilities, the ship was launched earlier this month from Xilinhot in Inner Mongolia, for a 48 hour test. Not only was the test successful, buy the ship was also able to reach an incredible altitude of 20 kilometers.
Based on the test, it is estimated that the ship could easily stay airborne for 6 months at a time, without the need to dock. This can prove very helpful for long term expeditions.
Although it’s not exactly clear what the intended use for this sort of ship may be, we can assume that it might be used for communications and surveillance purposes, since the ship is loaded with systems for wideband communication, data relay, high-definition observation, and spatial imaging.
Now that this project has been tested and tried, we can guess that as we move forward, we will see more iterations of such airships for cargo transport and luxury tourism purposes as well.
For now, all we know is, that, we will definitely be waiting with bated breath to see how this past inspired, new future of aviation turns out.