Re: Technology: Rigid Airship

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Sun Apr 09 2000 - 17:00:21 MDT

phil osborn wrote:
> Unfortunately, the "square/cube law" that works against you re heavier than
> air flying things, works for you in much the same proportion re lighter than
> air craft. I've often thought that you ought to be able to build a vacume
> dirigible, using foamed metal or ceramic for the hull. The hull would be
> very thick, but actually thin relative to the total size. If you built in
> orbit and figured out how to get it down into the atmosphere, you could end
> up with a permanent airostat with quite a lot of lift left over.

Getting the airship down shouldn't be too hard: ablative panels to take
care of the heat, and a one-use rocket to slow the airship down from
orbital speeds to get it down just far enough to where air drag can take

Once you're in the atmosphere, though, you're going to want it to be
massive so it can be stable (partly so significant weight changes, as
things land or take off or shift around, don't upset the whole works).
Alternately, you might want to add semi-flexible containers (which bend
when you give a signal, but stay rigid at all other times), or maybe
make part of the edges this way; which would allow you to shift lift as
required, or even lose lift and be able to gain it back later if, say, a
visiting 777 takes off.

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