DARPA provides funding for Aeros' ballast-free airship weight control system
By Loz Blain
November 2, 2007
November 2, 2007 An integral part of the exciting ML866 "superyacht for the sky", Aeros’ Control of Static Heaviness (COSH) system allows airships to adjust their weight in mid-flight without the use of a traditional ballast material. After successful initial tests of the controversial system, Aeros has been awarded funding by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for further demonstrations.
Under the program, Aeros will carry out the conceptual design, technology development, hardware development and bench demonstration, finalizing with the flight demonstration of the system on the FAA type certified Aeros 40D non-rigid airship.
The COSH system enables an airship’s weight to be controlled without using a traditional ballast. This means the aircraft’s buoyancy can be controlled more precisely than before. It is thought to operate by compressing helium to add weight, and decompressing it to lighten the craft, but details are sketchy, and skeptics openly wonder whether onboard machinery can compress the gas fast enough to operate effectively.
COSH technology is viewed by DARPA as having the potential to open new possibilities and further advance all kinds of lighter-than-air air vehicles including, high altitude and stratospheric airships, aerostats, conventional airships and new very heavy lift buoyancy assisted air vehicles in support of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and other agencies’ needs.