Airships: A New Horizon for Science
NASA Airship RFI released
NASA is considering a stratospheric airship challenge to incentivize the demonstration of a long duration scientific platform for both Earth and space sciences. In 2013, a Keck Institute study (Airships: A New Horizon for Science) demonstrated significant interest in airships as a science platform from the academic community and possible industrial partners.
In recent years, aerospace has seen a revival in airship technology. As of yet, scientists have not capitalized on what could be an ideal platform for various types of instruments with a wide variety of key science goals. We propose to gather experts in science and industry, including earth and atmospheric scientists, optical and infra-red observers in both planetary science and astrophysics, terahertz and millimeter observers, gravitational wave instrumentalists, as well as current airship technology experts, e.g., representatives from Near Space Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the Southwest Research Institute, in order to explore how science can best utilize the new airship platforms.
Specifically we aim to:
By opening up the sky and Earth's horizon in affordable ways with long-term flexibility, complementing the great space observatories and high-altitude balloon science, we can continue to push technology and science forward in a projectrich environment.
Study Co-Lead Lynne Hillenbrand from Caltech.
Study Co-Lead Jason Rhodes from JPL.
Study Co-Lead Robert Fesen from Dartmouth.