Techsphere President Mike Lawson is so sure that the company's new 90-ft diameter AeroSphere airship, due to hover in the sky this summer, will be successful that he's already counting on an around-the-world flight in 2005 for a 130-ft-diameter version. The spherical airship, unlike a traditional balloon, is not at the mercy of the wind, and unlike blimps that use airfoils, it does not require air to move over it to exert control forces. Instead, it features an outer Kevlar®-like shell that mounts three to five lightweight, horizontally and vertically swiveling propellers for propulsion and control. This control allows the craft to land vertically with minimal ground crew. The airship has two envelopes. The first, inner helium envelope, is initially filled to only about 6 percent of the fully expanded volume, and the second, the outer envelope, has no solid structural members, being slightly pressurized to maintain a constant spherical shape in the smaller AeroSphere models. The larger, high-altitude versions will use a modular composite-tube frame for added support and strength.
Designed by 21st Century Airships (http://rbi.ims.ca/3850-532), engineered by Georgia Tech Research Institute (http://rbi.ims.ca/3850-533), and built by Techsphere (http://rbi.ims.ca/3850-534), the AeroSphere is expected to be used as unmanned vehicles serving as sensor platforms and communications relays for both civilian and military uses. Diameter sizes of the airships run the gammet from 60 ft for the small version, which will fly best from 10,000-15,000 ft altitude with a 1,000-lb payload for up to 72 hours, to 300 ft for one that will be available in 2005, flying at 60,000-70,000-ft altitude, carrying 4,000-lb payloads for 30-60 day missions. While turbodiesel-driven generators currently power the airships, Lawson expects a combination of fuel cells and solar cells on the outside of the sphere, or possibly hydrogen-based generators, will be used to furnish electric power for long duration missions.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
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