All aboard Solar Airship One! 'Whale-shaped' aircraft powered by the sun is set to fly non-stop for 20 days over more than 25 countries

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:5 min(s) read

  • The Solar Airship One is a 495ft long balloon that aims to fly across 24,000miles
  • Designers hope the aircraft will start its journey near to the equator in 2026

Fish are usually one of the last things that come to mind when thinking of something cruising through the air. 

But a new project hopes to see a giant ‘whale-shaped’ airship take to the skies in a remarkable non-stop journey over 24,000miles in 20 days. 

The Solar Airship One, developed by engineers in France, is a 495ft-long (150m) balloon vessel that is set to fly over 25 countries in 2026. 

It has been billed as a sun and hydrogen-powered aircraft that doesn’t require fossil fuels or create carbon emissions.

Mexico, India and the US are among the nations that could soon see the airship soaring overhead, as three pilots guide it along the equator from West to East at a height of 19,685ft (6,000m) in two years’ time.

Ambitious: A new project hopes to see a giant 'whale-shaped' airship (pictured) take to the skies in a remarkable non-stop journey over 24,000miles in 20 days

Ambitious: A new project hopes to see a giant ‘whale-shaped’ airship (pictured) take to the skies in a remarkable non-stop journey over 24,000miles in 20 days 

SPECIFICATIONS: SOLAR AIRSHIP 

Length: 495ft (150m)

Power source: Solar and hydrogen

Helium volume: 50,000 m3

Solar film length: 51,666 sq/ft (4,800m2)

Distance to travel: 24,000miles (36,800km)

Altitude: 19,685ft (6,000m)

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‘Throughout history, all great dreams have been considered impossible before they are fulfilled,’ the team at Euro Airship say. 

‘Behind each feat, explorers have invented the future by going beyond the boundaries of our certainties.

‘They have challenged the norms, questioned conventional wisdom to discover new solutions.

‘Today, the adventure must go on with a great trip for the protection of the environment and renewable energies.’ 

Plans for the noiseless aircraft – resulting from more than 10 years of research – suggest it will have a helium volume of 50,000 m3. 

Its structure is comprised of 15 individually controlled gas envelopes, which allow for it to be controlled in the midst of tough or stormy weather.

If it needs to land, designers say a rotating platform on a ‘sheet of water’ will be an ideal spot – removing the need for any heavy machinery.   

Action against climate change is also at the forefront of its design, as its entire surface is covered in 51,666ft (4,800m2) of solar film.

This generates electricity from sunlight during the day, with any surplus stored in fuel cells that produce hydrogen through electrolysis. 

The Solar Airship One, developed by engineers in France, is a 495ft-long (150m) balloon vessel that is set to fly over 25 countries in 2026

The Solar Airship One, developed by engineers in France, is a 495ft-long (150m) balloon vessel that is set to fly over 25 countries in 2026

It has been billed as a sun and hydrogen-powered aircraft that doesn't require fossil fuels or create carbon emissions

It has been billed as a sun and hydrogen-powered aircraft that doesn’t require fossil fuels or create carbon emissions

Mexico , India and the US are among the nations that could soon see the airship soaring overhead, as three pilots guide it along the equator from West to East at a height of 19,685ft (6,000m) in two years' time

Mexico , India and the US are among the nations that could soon see the airship soaring overhead, as three pilots guide it along the equator from West to East at a height of 19,685ft (6,000m) in two years’ time

The team intends to make the airship completely autonomous, although three pilots will be onboard to ensure the journey runs smoothly.

They include Michel Tognini, a former European Space Agency astronaut who made two trips to space on Soyuz TM-15 in 1992 and the Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-93 seven years later.

Dorine Bourneton, the first disabled female aerobatic pilot, is also part of the project.

She survived a plane crash at 16 before taking on a career as a pilot later in life. 

Ahead of the project, Ms Bourneton said: ‘We must be attentive to the needs and expectations of future generations.

‘Whether for our children or our grandchildren.’

Plans for the noiseless aircraft - resulting from more than 10 years of research - suggest it will have a helium volume of 50,000 m3

Plans for the noiseless aircraft – resulting from more than 10 years of research – suggest it will have a helium volume of 50,000 m3 

Its structure is comprised of 15 individually controlled gas envelopes, which allow for it to be controlled in the midst of tough or stormy weather

Its structure is comprised of 15 individually controlled gas envelopes, which allow for it to be controlled in the midst of tough or stormy weather 

READ MORE: British scientists help capture jaw-dropping space images after launching innovative new telescope on a BALLOON the size of a football stadium

British scientists have helped capture mesmerising photographs of galaxies using a balloon the size of a football stadium.

A £4.1million balloon-borne telescope was successfully launched from Wānaka Airport, New Zealand on Sunday, thanks to Durham University and an international team of astronomers.

The Superpressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope – known as SuperBIT – was sent out on a 100-day mission to investigate the mystery of dark matter.

Floating 108,000ft above Earth, it has already taken some jaw-dropping images of the Antennae Galaxies colliding 60 million light-years away.

These spiral galaxies began crashing into each other a few hundred million years ago, making them some of the youngest colliding galaxies to be witnessed by astronomers.

The SuperBIT  telescope was launched from W¿naka Airport, New Zealand on Sunday

The SuperBIT  telescope was launched from Wānaka Airport, New Zealand on Sunday




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