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DARPA provides funding for Aeros' ballast-free airship weight control system

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November 2, 2007

Aeroscraft ML866

Aeroscraft ML866

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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.

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About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain
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4 Comments

that doesn\'t alter its weight, just its density.

Its overall density after all is what gives it bouyancy. The mass of air it displaces.

That\'s why rocks don\'t float and aircraft carriers do, even though an aircraft carrier weighs a heap more.

Adrien

I think airships would be very useful for many purposes. border patrol, portable triage unit, temporary portable \"cell tower\" usage in case of a disaster. transport of food from difficult to reach places like the coffee growers in south America.

I\'ve always wondered how truly dangerous a hydrogen airship would be. With modern materials I would think there would be no more danger then the \"exploding flammable\" gas we drive around with us in our vehicles. Ever seen a car on fire? Oh no lets stop using gas vehicles!

Anyway I hope they are built.

telocity

Yes, I have seen cars on fire, and yes, even LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) powered buses, like the ones I drive, are known to explode, occasionally (we\'ve lost two that way). When it comes to hydrogen the problem is not that it is flammable - a Goodyear blimp (filled with helium) caught fire in Germany recently, and the pilot fell to his death. The problem with hydrogen is keeping it inside the envelope, as you don\'t want to top it off, ever! The hydrogen molecule is very, very tiny, so it sneaks through almost anything: fill a Coca Cola bottle with hydrogen, and close it firmly, and you can be sure the content of the bottle isn\'t the same a day later! Just weighing it will show it clearly!

A LPG-powerd car exploded a few years back here, the explosion blowing off the roof, but the fire died as quick as it happened! I have been in a LPG bus when it caught fire, and while it scared the shit out of me, there was no real damage from the ensuing LPG fire - very much like fires in movies: Very impressive, but no harm done to the structure, or even me :-)! The bus was soon back in service.

Diesel fires, and petrol fires, are much, much worse!

Tord Eriksson

LOL - At first glance I thought I was looking at Thunderbird Two. But remembering that you can compress gas to any reasonable pressure, there should be no barrier to low-ratio compression which could be done quickly. Why use pistons when you can use a turbine compressor?

Larry Hooten
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