Airship development joint venture Sanswire-TAO has completed testing of its STS-111's propulsion system at 9,000ft (2,750m) with a goal of operating at 15,000ft. The next step will be testing of the propulsion system at increasing altitudes.
The company says that flight tests to date, with its 23m scale-model prototype at 3,000ft, have increased manoeuvrability, reduced overall drag through its own adaptive trim system and extended endurance.
Concept image of Sanswire's airship
The adaptive trim system automatically senses and alters the centre of gravity throughout flight. The company is a 50-50 joint venture between Ft Lauderdale-headquartered aerospace communications specialist Sanswire and lighter-than-air unmanned air vehicles maker TAO Technologies, of Stuttgart.
Airship in production