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Airships: A New Horizon for Science

Miller, Sarah H. and Fesen, Robert and Hillenbrand, Lynne A. and Rhodes, Jason and Baird, Gil and Blake, Geoffrey A. and Booth, Jeff and Carlile, David E. and Duren, Riley and Edworthy, Frederick G. and Freeze, Brent and Friedl, Randall R. and Goldsmith, Paul F. and Hall, Jeffery L. and Hoffman, Scott E. and Hovarter, Scott E. and Jensen-Clem, Rebecca M. and Jones, Ross M. and Kauffmann, Jens and Kiessling, Alina and King, Oliver G. and Konidaris, Nick P. and Lachenmeier, Timothy L. and Lord, Steven D. and Neu, Jessica and Quetin, Gregory R. and Ram, Alan and Sander, Stanley and Simard, Marc and Smith, Mike and Smith, Steve and Smoot, Sara and Susca, Sara and Swann, Abigail and Young, Eliot F. and Zambrano, Thomas (2014) Airships: A New Horizon for Science. Keck Institute for Space Studies , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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The "Airships: A New Horizon for Science" study at the Keck Institute for Space Studies investigated the potential of a variety of airships currently operable or under development to serve as observatories and science instrumentation platforms for a range of space, atmospheric, and Earth science. The participants represent a diverse cross-section of the aerospace sector, NASA, and academia. Over the last two decades, there has been wide interest in developing a high altitude, stratospheric lighter-than-air (LTA) airship that could maneuver and remain in a desired geographic position (i.e., "station-keeping") for weeks, months or even years. Our study found considerable scientific value in both low altitude (< 40 kft) and high altitude (> 60 kft) airships across a wide spectrum of space, atmospheric, and Earth science programs. Over the course of the study period, we identified stratospheric tethered aerostats as a viable alternative to airships where station-keeping was valued over maneuverability. By opening up the sky and Earth's stratospheric horizon in affordable ways with long-term flexibility, airships allow us to push technology and science forward in a project-rich environment that complements existing space observatories as well as aircraft and high-altitude balloon missions.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Project Report)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Report
Rhodes, Jason0000-0002-4485-8549
Blake, Geoffrey A.0000-0003-0787-1610
Duren, Riley0000-0003-4723-5280
Goldsmith, Paul F.0000-0002-6622-8396
Jensen-Clem, Rebecca M.0000-0003-0054-2953
Konidaris, Nick P.0000-0003-1905-2815
Sander, Stanley0000-0003-1424-3620
Smith, Mike0000-0002-3321-1432
Additional Information:While we acknowledge specific contributions to this report above, all study members listed on the title page participated in invaluable ways to our brain-storming discussions, conclusions, and recommendations over the course of the study period. In addition to the study members who contributed to the Short Course presentations (Robert Fesen, Jens Kauffmann, Steve Lord, Randy Friedl, Geoff Blake, Paul Goldsmith, and Sarah Miller), we also thank Michael Werner for his presentation. The members of this study would like to extend their gratitude to Michele Judd, Managing Director of the Keck Institute for Space Studies, and her excellent team, for creating an optimal working environment during the workshops and meetings of this study. Judd played a pivotal role in the creation of our new airship science community over the course of the study period. We also thank the director of the Keck Institute for Space Studies, Tom Prince, as well as the Steering Committee for selecting our proposal from the 2013 study program candidates. The Institute provided a unique opportunity to bring key science and industry leaders together to make this comprehensive evaluation and report possible. We thank the larger science community for their participation during the Short Course of this study, and their continued interest and support in new airship and stratospheric tether platforms for science. We thank the public for their interest and participation in the public component of this study. We acknowledge NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology for their internal support of the process and program of the Keck Institute for Space Studies. Finally, we would like to thank the W. M. Keck Foundation for establishing and sustaining the Keck Institute for Space Studies
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160303-135927410
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:65030
Deposited By: Colette Connor
Deposited On:04 Mar 2016 21:36
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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