There really isn’t anything new under the sun, as you can see from the fashion cycles that tend to repeat themselves from time to time. I am still waiting for the moment where big is beautiful instead of the waif-like models that we still see strut the catwalk and selfies online. Having said that, it seems that blimps and zeppelins do have a special place in the hearts of many, as the U.S. Army even intends to use spy blimps for future conflicts. StratoBus intends to be part of the blimp future, where it is an airship that was specially designed to travel all the way to the Earth’s stratosphere.
The brains behind the StratoBus would be that of Thales Alenia Space, where it is a collaboration with Airbus Defense & Space, Zodiac Marine and CEA-Liten. This structure is made out of carbon fiber and comes in the form factor of a blimp, but you can be sure that it will be jam packed with plenty of today’s modern technology, sporting a pair of solar-powered motors and measures approximately 300 feet in length – which is roughly the length of an entire football field.
Apart from that, the StratoBus will have a diameter of about 25 yards, and has the ability to ship more than 400 pounds of cargo. The main purpose of its existence would be to float at 13 miles above Earth’s atmosphere, right there in the stratosphere (hence the name) where commercial aircraft do not fly, although remaining far below orbiting satellites. This allows it to snap high-resolution photos while offering telecommunications services, especially to remote areas. The first prototype is expected to launch in the next five years.