A new U.S. Spy Blimp, or Airship, being developed by the US military will measure 400 feet long, will fly 65,000 feet up in the air, can travel to any global destination within 15 days, can survey targets up to a 375 mile radius and can remain airborne without landing for ten years. This next generation airship will provide the U.S. with intelligence that they have never had before. They can have a live view of what's going on in problem area's like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Floating up to 65,000 feet, the Spy Ship will be far enough away from most ground to air missiles and also too high for fighter jets to reach. It is absolutely revolutionary. It is constant surveillance, uninterrupted." said Werner Dahm of the US airforce. "When you only have a short-term view whether it is a few hours or a few days, that is not enough to put the picture together.
The $400 million dollar Spying Airship will be solar-powered so that it can be completely unmanned and powered by sun and also by hydrogen fuel cells.
The airship is an excellent alternative given the costs to launch satellites, build satellites, and maintain them. You also have to factor in the amount of space junk flying around in space that could potentially destroy a satellite at any given time - especially with the Space Vacuum not yet being ready.
We are expected to see a prototype of the Airship by 2014.http://techfragments.com/news/633/Scien ... rship.html