Three days ago, unbeknownst to most of the world, China initiated a test flight lasting 24 hours. The object gaining flight was the 75 meters long, 22 meters high “Yuanmeng”, an airship taking up the volume of 18,000 cubic meters. It is solar powered, and the test was successful when the airship edged toward near space, a region of the earth’s atmosphere that exists between 20km and 100km in altitude.
The Yuanmeng is capable of carrying a payload of up to 7 tons that includes sensors, cameras, and other equipment, all of which will be solar powered thanks to sun-soaking solar panels installed on the top of the airship. The same solar energy will be used to power its rotors for [...]