Saturday 10 November 2012

To Boldly Float ... Orbital Airships

They’re still at it. The folks at JP Aerospace are still chipping away at their orbital airship concept. I had seen the concept on the web while writing The Black Ships and thought it might be an interesting way to get large ship modules into space. I didn’t realise, at the time that anyone was actively working on such an idea, but these guys really seem to believe in it. There are still quite a few problems to iron out, such as high-altitude buoyancy and heat transfer, but the thing that really catches my imagination is size. At seven times the size of the Hindenburg, where the heck do you park the thing? For a look at what they're working on, drop by their blog here:
I’m hoping they pull it off. There’s a certain elegance to the idea of massive airships, slowly lifting cargo into space. It almost seems anachronistic - I love stuff like that.

The image above is not from JP. I was just playing around with an open source program called Blender. I had created a model of an airship while writing  The Black Ships and thought it might show scale better if I built the Golden Gate bridge and put them together. Then I got carried away and turned it into an animated fly-by, complete with crowd sounds and police radio chatter.

Tons of fun, but I got very little writing done that day...