China recently conducted its first test flight of an indigenously made stratosphere airship which is capable of long flights in the stratosphere, state-media reported.
The airship was given the name “Dream”, state-run People’s Daily reported.
The long-duration capability of this airship is due to high strength materials developed by the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which can resist pressure differences in the stratosphere, it said.
The stratosphere airship is an aerostat lighter than air. Its driving power comes from solar energy. It has also been equipped with a propulsion system, it added.
The biggest advantage of the airship is that it can achieve vertical takeoff and landing without relying on a runway, and it can stand above any geographic location, with an operating altitude beyond the scope of air traffic control, the report said.
In addition, the stratosphere airship can carry out its work in all weather conditions. The flight altitude of the airship is about 20,000 metres. It can carry large numbers of probes and communications equipment.
As the stratospheric meteorological conditions are relatively stable, the airship can also realise long-duration flight.
It can provide real-time monitoring of large regions and can maintain live audio with headquarters on the ground. It can also be used to monitor forest fires and give early typhoon warning.
Besides these functions, the airship also has value in military applications. It can detect military movements and ship navigation over large regions, the report said.