Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Balloon

Alan Eustace enjoys the view as he ascends to an altitude of 135,890 ft (Photo: Atomic Ent...

Google exec, Alan Eustace, has broken the 128,100-ft (39,045-m) high-altitude skydive record set by Felix Baumgartner in October, 2012 (with much less fanfare). Jumping from a balloon at 135,890 ft (41,419 m) above Roswell, New Mexico, Eustace also set new world records for vertical speed and freefall distance.  Read More

Artist's concept of the bloostar upper stages firiing

Reaching space in a balloon may sound like something out of a children’s book, but Spain’s zero2infinity company doesn't think so. The Barcelona-based company specializes in near-space balloon flights for scientific and engineering clients, and is working on a nanosatellite launch vehicle called bloostar, which uses a high-altitude balloon as a first stage and rockets for reaching orbit.  Read More

NASA has selected five finalists to move on in its NIAC Program

NASA has chosen five studies to advance to phase 2 of its Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The successful projects were chosen via a system of peer review, and represent the most promising technological concepts with the greatest potential to revolutionize the agency's approach to the building and operating of aerospace systems.  Read More

Inventor Josh Malone claims that it's possible to fill 100 Bunch O Balloons every minute

Making a water bomb (or water balloon) can be a laborious and time-consuming process. Unless you have Bunch O Balloons, a system for filling 100 balloons with water in under a minute.  Read More

Would built-in flotation bags have allowed the Costa Concordia to remain upright?  (Photo:...

The European Union has invested in a project designed to keep damaged ships stable and afloat by means of airbag-like balloons. It is hoped that the new system, developed under the Su Sy project, will give emergency services extra time to evacuate stricken ships, minimizing the devastating losses of life synonymous with the sinking of cruise ships such as the Costa Concordia, and the South Korean ferry Sewol, which sank earlier this year.  Read More

An Arizona-based company is planning to offer commercial subspace balloon flights by 2016 ...

Arizona-based World View Enterprises has successfully completed its first test flight of a space tourism balloon that, for the price of US$75,000 per person, will lift six passengers into the stratosphere to an altitude of 20 miles (32 km). From there, they will be able to see the curvature of the Earth. The company says it is on track to fly its first passenger in just two years time.  Read More

Artist's concept of the World View balloon capsule in flight (Photo: World View Enterprise...

The newest entry in the fledgling space (or near-space) tourism sector will see passengers take a balloon ride to an altitude of 30 km (18.6 mi) from where they will be treated to a spectacular view of the Earth. World View Enterprises has now obtained US Federal Aviation Administration approval for its proposed balloon experiences, which will cost US$75k, and are projected to begin in 2016.  Read More

Google recently launched Project Loon, which will send internet-enabled balloons into the ...

Almost two-thirds of the world still does not have access to high-speed internet, but Google is determined to change that. Unfortunately, setting up an affordable infrastructure in remote areas is beyond even a huge multinational corporation's capabilities, which is why the company had to devise a completely out-of-the-box solution called Project Loon. As part of the project, Google recently launched a series of internet-enabled balloons into the stratosphere over New Zealand to provide broadband connectivity to rural areas.  Read More

Two Nanoblimps, engaging in aerial warfare in an office

Instead of shelling out for a complete radio-controlled plane, why not just add a powered propeller and steerable rudder to a paper plane of your own? That’s the thinking behind PowerUp Toys’ PowerUp 3.0 kit. Now, Canada’s Plantraco MicroFlight has applied that same sort of thinking to blimps. The resulting Nanoblimp, billed as “the world’s smallest RC blimp,” uses a plain ol’ party-variety helium balloon as its gas envelope.  Read More

The Air Cork is a device that keeps wine fresh by sealing it with a balloon-like bladder

When it comes to resealing an opened bottle of wine, most people either use the cork that the bottle came with, or a hand-pumped vacuum stopper. Now, however, there’s another option – it’s called the Air Cork, although we also kind of like its previous name, the Wine Balloon.  Read More

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