A radical new prototype hydrogen-powered high altitude robot aircraft, intended to remain airborne for a week at a time, has crashed during a test flight in California. The Global Observer drone, which had taken off 18 hours previously from Edwards airforce base, was lost at 2:30pm local time on Friday. It was the aircraft's …
Not quite high enough
12 miles up is pretty useful, and presumably the idea is that that is out of range of whatever the Taliban/Libyans (or whoever the current enemy-of-the-month is) can put up to shoot them down.
However, did not our own PARIS get up to 17 miles? Could PARIS be modified to carry offensive kit? Have you had any requests for blueprints from suspicious addresses in Afghanistan or down-town Tripoli? Should we hurry up and get LOHAN in orbit before balloons are banned under the US arms export regulations?
I'm pretty certain I've already seen Paris carrying offensive kit in the form of a bling-encrusted handbag.
What? Oh I see - not that Paris.
why hydrogen powered?
don't the usual low energy density, bulky +| heavy storage problems that beset hydrogen apply at 65,000ft?
They're surely not using it for lift as well are they?
So, if I've got this right,
They feed the hydrogen into an engine, that burns it away for heat and pressure in order to turn a shaft to spin a generator to produce electricity that goes down a wire to spin a motor to turn a propellor to drive it forward to generate lift...OK so far...
Now, what was that other property of hydrogen associated with aviation? Wait, don't tell me, tip of my tongue...
... it goes.
to spin a motor to turn a propeller to drive it any direction to maintain position. Lift comes from the (as you surmised) from the gas itself.
On the other hand if DARPA is involved it probably gets lift from captive badgers and pixie dust
Nope, previous article even has a picture.
It's a drone aeroplane. All wings, no gasbag.
"On the other hand if DARPA is involved it probably gets lift from captive badgers and pixie dust"
That explains it.
The badgers got loose and trashed the steering. you don't want to be near an angry badger.
Huh? How come Lewis hasn't trotted out his usual line that everything American is a load of crap and they should be using the far superior British tech that holds the endurance record in this field?
solar powered lifting body airships...
could surely survive for months on end (longer if we can ferry up helium canisters -fairly easy to have a big catch plate on top of the airship surely...
re: did not our own PARIS get up to 17 miles?
I thought the point was it came _down from_ 17 miles.
12 miles is c63000 feet.
This is in SR71 and concorde territory rather than most airliners.
About the *only* thing it could run into would be some falling meteorite or space junk.
As for a flight recorder well if it's military they might not like the idea of fitting one.
Awkward when thing s go wrong.