StratoBus, a new project out of France, is conceptualized to do just that. Designed to be about the length of a football field and 25 yards in diameter, the blimp-shaped vehicle’s shell will be made of carbon fiber.
Without a launcher, StratoBus floats to the lower stratosphere at an altitude of about 13 miles where developers say it will be in a perfect position to carry out a range of functions, including surveillance, border security monitoring, communications reinforcement and facilitating navigation — all from a stationary position with the help of two self-adjusting electric motors. The StratoBus will be able to endure missions of up to a year with a total lifetime of five years.
The ultra-lightweight design allows for a plug-and-play payload on the nacelle that can accommodate up to 450 pounds. And because the drone-tellite stays closer to earth, it will be able to take higher resolution images and maintain a stronger communications system. It might even be used to boost GSM network capacity during high traffic periods.
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