HALE

 

There is a need for wide-band global connectivity, telecommunications and internet, but solutions are often expensive like Satellites, risky, and require long development cycles.

Lindstrand Technologies Limited over many years have been working on having the much more cost affective solution – The airship, or aerostat.  It is the only class of stratospheric platform that can maintain flight duration measured in months even today.  Since the late 1950s high altitude station keeping platforms have been under research.  But now materials and technologies have improved since these early days and key systems could now be made simpler, lighter and more reliable.  The capability to develop an High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) stratospheric airship is now within reach.

One of the aerostats designed is an aerostatic platforms based on a solar powered aerodynamic super-pressure airship.  Fuel cells are used for high efficient energy storage, i.e. for night time power supply and an intelligent propulsion system will provide a reliable thrust also in the case of heavy winds.

The airship will point out the capabilities of long-term , telecommunications mission (approximately 5 years), high accuracy station keeping and recovery in addition to demonstrating the feasibility of the concept of stratospheric airships focusing on inflation of the hull and transition to the stratosphere plus successful operation over the telecommunications and internet mission length.

 

For more information contact Lindstrand Technologies Ltd and make HALE global connectivity a reality.

Lindstrand technologies - Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games

After months of bad publicity, the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games kicked off in spectacular style. Seen by over 1 billion people, a huge aerostat emerged from the darkness of the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium to tumultuous applause and a shower of camera flashes on Sunday 3rd October. As it rose effortlessly towards the open, clear skies of an Indian evening, the spectators marvelled at the projected images, showcasing the rich culture and history that India has to offer.

The helium filled aerostat was the brain child of Mark Fisher, the genius designer behind some of the world’s most spectacular entertainment events – Cirque du Soleil, the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony and international rock concerts. Lindstrand Technologies Ltd turned the conceptual design into reality.

LTL was approached back in January 2010 about the feasibility of making a helium filled structure which would ‘float’ above a stadium in New Delhi as part of the Opening Ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games to be held in October 2010. At the time, no-one could foresee how simply stunning this creation would become.

The aerostat became known as the ‘AeroTorus’ and was designed and built in 4 sections by using advanced fabric welding methods, perfected by Lindstrand Technologies in many of its applications. At 80 meters long by 40 meters wide and with a height of 12 meters, the ‘AeroTorus’ is the largest tethered aerostat built to date. Five kilometres of fabric were required to make the structure, whose geometry is based on the ‘torus’ – a product of two circles – and which can be seen in many common every day items such as ring doughnuts, life buoys, inner tubes of bicycles etc. Each section was designed to be joined together using zips and Dutch lacing which would ensure no separation of the sections and protect the air ballonets. A digitally printed ‘skirt’, produced by MediaCo in Manchester, depicting Indian symbolism completed the fabric creation.

The aerostat pressure was maintained using traditional methods adopted in lighter-than-air technology, i.e. the use of helium valves, pressure relief valves and ballonet fans. Over 5 kms of wiring controlled the aerostat with each torus section having its own dedicated valves and fans to regulate pressure.

The manufacture of the aerostat took place at Lindstrand’s American factory, and all the sections were completed in a 3 month time scale. They were shipped across to the UK for a full system integration and air fill test, before leaving for India. The test event was held at Rednal, a former RAF airfield near Oswestry, Shropshire. It gave LTL the opportunity to check all system parts of the aerostat and allowed time for valuable training for Team Torus who would be in Delhi, installing the aerostat in the stadium. This stage of the project involved every employee of LTL pulling and manhandling over 6 tonnes of fabric into position. Therefore it was critical for the installation team to perfect their techniques before departure in early September.

Despite issues with Customs in India, all the equipment associated with the ‘AeroTorus’ project arrived at the end of August, just as the worst monsoons in recent years hit the city. The initial installation was postponed by 1 week, to allow the Commonwealth Stadium to be filled with 600 tonnes of sand and gravel and additional covering laid over the central field of play.

LTL sent an international team of engineers out to Delhi, whose combined experience in the lighter-than-air field exceeds 100 years. Our team included electricians from Poland and Mexico, supervisors from the USA and a core team from the factory in the UK under the watchful leadership of Dave Gill, a highly experienced and time served test pilot and aerostat engineer.

The contrast between installations at Rednal, UK and in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium could not have been more stark. Delhi was awash with water, temperatures soared above 400C and the high humidity sapped every ounce of energy from the installation team.

What was a minor miracle was the time taken to fill the aerostat from liquid helium. This was originally expected to take 10 hours, but LTL improved on this time, with the assistance of Air Products, taking 6 hours for the Opening Ceremony fill and 3 hours for the Closing Ceremony fill. The coolest place in Delhi happened to be right next to the huge helium vaporisers where the temperature dropped to below -2000C – no wonder our team took turns to monitor the helium flow.

The aerostat breathed life into the stadium. From this point onwards the aerostat played a vital part in rehearsals for the two ceremonies, with the winching team practising the ascent and descent of the aerostat under the direction of the Organising Committee Creative Team.

At exactly 7pm local time in India on Sunday 3rd October, the eyes of the world turned towards New Delhi, waiting expectantly for perhaps yet another negative headline. Instead, what they got was an audio-visual feast, capable of silencing many of the Games’ worst critics, and it is in no small part thanks to Mark Fisher and Lindstrand Technologies Ltd.

 

Airship

A new generation airship that could benefit the emergency services by remotely monitoring disasters such as floods and forest fires and help support major sporting events has successfully completed its first remotely piloted test flight at the Lindstrand Technologies test facility at Birkenhead, North West England.

The airship, designed for remote deployment on long endurance missions or as a communications relay station, undertook the initial phase of remotely piloted testing at the Lindstrand Technologies test facility in Birkenhead as the first step towards making a fully unmanned autonomous system (UAS) for a major British contractor.

This groundbreaking step in the development of this airship ideally positions companies to take advantage of a growing range of new markets. Not only is it made of newer lighter material than any previous airship, but it is significantly smaller than the majority of its competitors yet delivers the same high level of performance.

Its small size means it is easily transportable and does not need an airfield or runway to operate from. It can use existing hangars and needs only three ground operators to fly it which all adds up to some big cost savings for future customers.

The next stages in the development of of this airship are type certification of the remotely piloted vehicle then transition to a fully autonomous vehicle utilising existing autonomous technologies available in the market place.

 

Tethered Aerostat System for US Market

In April 2011, LTL delivered a tethered aerostat system to its American factory for testing and commissioning before being handed over to the client. The aerostat will be used primarily for surveillance work by the Military.

The GA-19 aerostat includes a mobile, trailer-mounted mooring system with hydraulic docking mast, and is intended to carry a payload weighing up to 110 kg to a flying altitude of 1000 metres. The aerostat has a volume of 880 cubic metres, and has been designed with the surveillance market in mind. The system was put through a testing programme by LTL here in the UK at the end of last year during the coldest December in recent years.

This product compliments other aerostats already designed, manufactured and delivered by LTL, and it is going to be a very popular choice for clients looking to elevate sensitive and expensive surveillance equipment. LTL designs and manufactures all its aerostats specifically tailored to the needs of the client/ end-user.