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Sanswire Demonstrates First Stratellite

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the as-promised dept.

Communications 192

Sterling D. Allan writes "Pure Energy Systems News (PESN) reports that GlobeTel Communications Corp. debuted their Sanswire Stratellite last week to over 300 people, including members of the media, personnel from the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. and international commercial interests, as well as investors and shareholders. Stationed in the stratosphere, well above the jet stream, powered by film solar photovoltaic units, the device will make wireless communications available anywhere in the U.S., including on airline flights. One Stratellite will have a payload capacity of several thousand pounds and clear line-of-sight to approximately 300,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of Texas."

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But.... (4, Funny)

TGK (262438) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264532)

Municipal wifi is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of!

Dear Verizon CEO, your statement does not apply (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12265241)

This is not about municipal wifi but about stately wifi.

can anyone say cyberdyne? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264547)

interesting.

Wireless capability is a lot less than 300,000sqm. (1, Informative)

AddressException (187785) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264548)

From TFA: Wireless capability (currently) to an area with a radius of 200 miles.

Re:Wireless capability is a lot less than 300,000s (4, Interesting)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264578)

From TsameFA (actually, just the line above):

# Line-of-sight to a 300,000 square mile area
# Wireless capability (currently) to an area with a radius of 200 miles

Radius 200 miles ~= 125,000 square miles, anyway... not sure if that counts as "a lot" less.

And it seems to imply that the wireless capability will eventually be extended to approach the entire line of sight area...

Re:Wireless capability is a lot less than 300,000s (-1, Offtopic)

bombadillo (706765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264621)

Ah shit I posted just after you with 125,000. Damn now I will get the -1 redundant.

Re:Wireless capability is a lot less than 300,000s (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264673)

And a -1 Overrated for using your karma bonus to post the above. Talk about not knowing when to say when.

Re:Wireless capability is a lot less than 300,000s (4, Informative)

fungus (37425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264884)

Read this [boosman.com] if you are sceptical about Sanswire claims.

Re:Wireless capability is a lot less than 300,000s (1, Redundant)

bombadillo (706765) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264596)

MMmmm pi*r2 comes out to about 125,000 sqm

Collisions (0, Troll)

aking137 (266199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264549)

Is there an increased risk of them bumping into things, like Space Debris [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Collisions (2, Informative)

AddressException (187785) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264564)

They're not in space, they're in the stratosphere (part of the atmosphere).

Re:Collisions (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264792)

There is a minor risk of them being hit by asteroids.

Re:Collisions (1)

ArbitraryConstant (763964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265041)

Last time I checked, space debris was in space.

Sadly. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264552)

The press release fails to point out that the demonstration was an abysmal failure and not even the wasteful spendthrifts from the pentagon were interested in putting in an order. Film at eleven.

Re:Sadly. (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264644)

The press release fails to point out that the demonstration was an abysmal failure and not even the wasteful spendthrifts from the pentagon were interested in putting in an order. Film at eleven.

Get out, TWO bogus /. articles in a row?! First OSS zealots are gunna sue my company for using Bob's GPL'd Fontpack in our quarterly reports, and now we have a bajillion dollar satellite system that doesn't work. Great readin' guys, keep it comin!

WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264681)

change the parent post to Funny rather than Informative or Insightful. The AC post was a joke, made up by the AC, me. Any resemblance to factual matters is purely coincidental.

+5 Informative - ROFLMAO (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264744)

An amusing and false troll gets moderated +5 Informative, despite the troll's pleas to moderate as a joke. Film at eleven.

Slashdot mods on crack. You don't even want to see this film.

Re:+5 Informative - ROFLMAO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12265264)

Slashdot mods on crack. You don't even want to see this film.

Seen it? I've LIVED it baby!

Re:WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE... (2, Funny)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265176)

Maybe they need, you know, to be able to attach nickname or something to posting so we can tell one AC from the other. Oh, wait..

PARENT FUNNY, NOT INFORMATIVE (2, Funny)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264805)

Well, I tried to mod this funny, but I was told the comment was at its limit. So I tried to make it overrated, so someone could mod it back up as funny, but it said I'd already moderated the comment. Oh well. Damn slashcode bugs.

It *is* still vaporware (4, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264948)

It sounds like it's more advanced vaporware than in the past, but it's still vaporware. One of the news articles [xtramsn.co.nz] has a bit more information: "Wisconsin communications company Sanswire unveiled its almost-finished prototype of a hard-framed, unmanned airship designed to fly in the stratosphere 21 km above the earth and send broadband and mobile phone signals to an area the size of Texas." and quotes them discussing FAA certification as "We don't have a test date, but we're hoping for midsummer," "But we're still years ahead of any other program doing anything like this."

They've been hyping this for years, and while the telecom crash of the early 2000s kicked the chair out from under their business plans, they'd still be really really cool if they ever deployed the bloody things.

By the way, their PR mockup picture of the Stratellite [sanswire.com] looks amazingly like the whale in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Re:It *is* still vaporware (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265085)

I wonder what their bandwidth is. Could they SUPPORT internet connections over an area the size of Texas?

(Actually, I suppose they could if they lauched it in North Dakota, but I'm less certain if they launched it from Kansas City.)

Still, at "several thousand pounds" it could carry a lot more than most satelites. And the lag time would be LOTS less. But I suspect a lower altitude would give better quality coverage. 5Km up would be nice for cities and counties, and would need to carry less equipment.

OTOH, "just below the jet stream" might cause problems with aircraft collisions. Pilots just aren't expecting an obstacle 5 miles up unless they're around the Himalayas.

Still, once they can get them certified, I bet there are a bunch of countries that would like to save money on stringing phone wires to all their rural districts.

Terrific! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264555)

Now I can download porn on my cell phone at 20,000 feet! And join the mile high jack off club of dateless Slashdotting losers! In soviet Russia, stratalite launches YOU!

wow (4, Interesting)

sfcat (872532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264558)

This is impressive. Solar powered, but are there weather problems at this altitude? I guess not, but can we put cameras on this thing too. Better maps for google maps, yea. When does it fly by SF again?

Re:wow (4, Informative)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264589)

65,000 feet is above the jet stream. All the bad stuff is below 50,000 feet.

Now, if they get a whole network of these (50+), they could cover the entire USA.

re: WOW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264658)

Your post indicates a scatological mind.
What I'm trying to say is, What the hell are you on about, shit for brains?

Re: WOW! (1)

trewornan (608722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264736)

I think he's just got small gestalts.

We'll all live in Los Angeles now. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264559)

Having visited Los Angeles, I was shocked by the routine use of helicopters for chasing suspects. I guess, with this technology, we'll all be tracked by the powers that be.

No need to worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264694)

No need to worry until they start sniping from the helicopters.

Re:No need to worry... (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264998)

Or even worse, orbital sniping:

Orbital Eunuchs Sniper [icculus.org] (very fun game, btw, and runs on Linux)

Re:We'll all live in Los Angeles now. (2, Insightful)

cjsnell (5825) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264752)

Having visited Los Angeles, I was shocked by the routine use of helicopters for chasing suspects.

I, too, am shocked that our law enforcement is using helicopters to catch criminals! I think it's a better idea to allow police officers to conduct high-speed car chases through neighborhoods. You are absolutely "Insightful". +1 +1 +1!!!

Conversion units (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264565)

Is that a Metric Texas or an Imperial one?

Re:Conversion units (4, Funny)

Presidential (805793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264585)

As a new resident of Texas, I can assure you that _all_ Texas is Imperial.

Think Darth Bush..

Re:Conversion units (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264726)

Is that a Metric Texas or an Imperial one?

Neither --- it's a Republic [republic-of-texas.net] ...

Re:Conversion units (1)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264803)

It's a Mercator Texas!

Re:Conversion units (1)

killermookie (708026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265190)

It's 150 times the Library on Congress.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264568)

would like to ask, haven't we pooh poohed this [sanswire.com] before?

Re:I for one... (1)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264806)

Yes, we did pooh pooh thisbefore. [slashdot.org]

It would seem that this company is rather adept at generating press coverage.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12265042)

Wow - this company is obviously bullshit. The website's management page sites a bunch on managers and flyboys, but who is designing this thing? I would think that you would want someone who has designed airships before? I just see some relatively low-level engineers on staff. Where did Dr. Lee get his PhD? It just says he conducted PhD work at Stanford. And he published one article on optimal control? What about writing a book on the aerodynamics of airships before you try to build one?

Stratellite disk (4, Funny)

zbeeble (808759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264569)

Straight out of Del boys mouth. "I just got one of those new Stratellite dishes"

Re:Stratellite disk (1)

Insipid Trunculance (526362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264902)

plonker!!

Too bad... (3, Funny)

Karpe (1147) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264573)

It doesn't work at night. ;)

Re:Too bad... (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265191)

Clearly, you didn't read the article...it has a payload of several thousand pounds which will just about cover the weight of the batteries. That means it won't operate day or night. It'll just sit there doing nothing all the time. Just like the guy in the next cubicle.

gonna have to start RingTFAs now (3, Funny)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264577)

As usual I was reading the summary and skipping about every other line. I do this until I find something interesting to me.

I was quite interested to learn that:
over 300 people, including members of the media, personnel from the U.S. Department of Defense, Stationed in the stratosphere, well above the jet stream.

and I think to myself "WOW those guys are WAY up there"

Re:gonna have to start RingTFAs now (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264774)

I wish they all were - including shrub himself. And once in orbit we can then use them as a test subject for the latest anti-asteroid defence systems.

They are still a penny stock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264592)

Here is the Yahoo ticker if you are interested:

gtel.ob

So... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264602)

Who is going to be famous for shooting it out of the sky?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264728)

....Modded Interesting

That is sort of scary.

Re:So... (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264789)

Given that the usaf have a plan to shoot the European GPS system out of the sky then I think it ought to be Europe that shoots the bloody things down.

Re:So... (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264823)

Well, the USAF *think* they can shoot Gallileo out of the sky, but think about it. What do the missiles use to guide themselves.

GPS.

What is Gallileo?

A GPS system.

Go figure.

Re:So... (1)

TGK (262438) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264900)

Well we've invested billions (trillions?) of dollars in an ABM system that doesn't work, totaly eradicated the goodwill we earned ourselves by saving damn near all of Europe back in the 1940s, and left most of the world wishing there were still a totalitarian nuclear superpower for us to spit at so we'd leave the rest of the planet alone.

But hey! We've got these neet kenetic interceptors! They can't hit a missile, but I bet they can hit a satellite!

Re:So... (1, Insightful)

TDyl (862130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264945)

"Saved Europe"? It took two fucking years to decide which side you were on.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12265233)

saving damn near all of Europe back in the 1940s

Ah! SO it was YOU who thought the movie U-571 was historically accurate.

Meanwhile, in the real world....

Re:So... (1)

TGK (262438) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265248)

No.... my history degree served me well there too.

But if I recall correctly, things didn't go so well in France before the Yanks showed up.

(Hey, it's not like we've officialy pissed off the government of the UK).

Re:So... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264879)

Shoot 'it' down? No. Degrade or turn it off, maybe. But shoot down the whole constellation? Nope.

Re:So... (1)

x_codingmonkey_x (839141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264938)

I'm putting my money on meteors.

Re:So... (1)

x_codingmonkey_x (839141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265004)

Hmm I guess I would kinda lose most of my money there :P.

According to this wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] only 500 basketball sized meteors hit the earth every year. The question is, how many reach 20 km above the ground before they disintegrate?

Great googlie wooglie! (3, Funny)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264605)

They are actually building [sanswire.com] this Hindengurg [sanswire.com] . If this thing so much as casts a shadow over my house, there will be hell to pay!

Re:Great googlie wooglie! (4, Informative)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264868)

It's 65,000 feet in the air, and is (From TFA) 245 feet on the long diameter.

That's about .00006 (if I did the math right) degrees across. In case I did, it would be the same relative size as a 6 foot guy 1600 feet (About a quarter mile) away.

IOW, if its shadow covers your house, you should be more concerned about your house than the shadow :D

JP Aerospace, anyone? (4, Informative)

pyth (87680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264606)

http://jpaerospace.com/ [jpaerospace.com]

They're planning to use such airships to launch ships into space, by slowly achieving orbital speed!

Re:JP Aerospace, anyone? (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264716)

I wonder, do you think they get high enough to warrant an extended journey on one?

I would love to get up that high [jpaerospace.com] - its close enough to space for me :)

An airship would be able to carry a larger suite of passengers for a thrilling few hours.

Re:JP Aerospace, anyone? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265028)

I really wish they wouldn't fill these things with helium, what with the upcoming helium shortage.
http://www.energybulletin.net/3135.html [energybulletin.net] and http://wired-vig.wired.com/wired/archive/8.08/heli um.html [wired.com]
detail the problem.

Helium should be restricted to uses where there is no practical replacement. Cold temperature research should be the top of the list. Fusion should be next, but this probably won't significantly impact the He market since He-3 is a pretty rare isotope. Gas mixes for deep divers should be somewhere following (commercial before recreational of course). Balloons and Blimps shouldn't even be on the list: Hydrogen is a perfectly accptable replacement, is renewable (can be extracted from water and hydrocarbons) and the danger can be mitigated. hydrogen in childrens balloons would produce a very loud pop if ignited, but you'd have to put a candle to the balloon to do it. Hydrogen in blimps should be safe as long as we don't make the skins out of rocket fuel.

Yes I am aware that divers sometimes replace He with hydrogen, but it has many trade-offs that should not be forced: Under pressure, He/O2 mixes can be explosive, so the mixer must be very careful to limit the partial pressures of each, thermal properties of hydrogen, and the rate of hydrogen take-up in tissues are all factors to consider there.

High volume, low impact uses should at least try to avoid using He, leaving more for people who can get more use out of it.

Darn you hindenburg for creating a huge negative perception of hydrogen. And your crazy announcer too. Think how much cooler our cities would have looked with derigibles floating all over the place.

"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (4, Funny)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264642)

Can anyone parse,
"...utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology",
in a way that makes sense?

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (2, Funny)

pmonje (588285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264674)

fizzy lifting gas, yo.

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (1)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264725)

Fizzy Lifting Drink, you insensitive clod!

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264741)

Fizzy lifting bubbles. Just watch out for the big exhaust fan. Also, you burp to lose altitude. Good luck, pilot!

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (4, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264795)

It's called Helium

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (2, Interesting)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264898)

I've always thought... since Helium produces it's lift because it displaces the denser air, thus making the entire object less dense and buoyant, wouldn't the best lift be had if you created a vacuum inside the vessel?

Obviously there are structural issues associated with this, but I'm almost imagining that you could start with helium at (or slightly below) atmospheric pressure, and use a pump to evacuate the volume as it ascends. That way the pressure inside the vessel can be balanced to the surrounding air and you can get very near the edge of space without too much structure to keep it from exploding/imploding. (And except for the helium molecules being so small, gas leakage would be minimal with no pressure differential across the membrane!)

Maybe that's how they do it... with 3000 pounds of payload capacity they have plenty of room for a vacuum pump, and they didn't say how long it takes to get that high!
=Smidge=

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (4, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265108)

density helium = .1785 kg/m^3
density air = 1.29 kg/m^3

so the lift of a "pure vacuum" blimp would be about 14% better than that of a helium blimp. So you must make the structural mass of your "vacuum blimp" is smaller than than the extra lift.

I bet they are using hydrogen (1)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265090)

I would not doubt it if they were using HYDROGEN. It is cheaper more plentiful and has more lifting power then helium.

Re:I bet they are using hydrogen (1)

Steve1952 (651150) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265127)

Hydrogen, with perhaps some type of other gas mixed in to reduce the risk of explosion. This other gas would be the "proprietary" part.

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264818)

vapour?

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (4, Funny)

potentiallyprofound (876749) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264821)

It's 'lifting gas', as in, gas that lifts. Y'know, like 'running man', or 'overreacting slashdotter'. "...utilizing proprietary overracting slashdotter technology, the publicist was able to create a buzz about his software in a matter of minutes"

Re:"utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264956)

It just means the airship uses some technology based on gas that the company doesn't want to detail.

Utilizing = use
proprietary = in-house / not-for-public-consumption
lifting gas = The material involved is gaseous. It functions in a lifting capacity.
technology = well, you should know this one:).

thefart.. (1)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264991)

thefart.com [thefart.com]

Heads up! (1, Funny)

Kymermosst (33885) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264679)

What happens when this thing malfunctions and falls out of the sky?

Re:Heads up! (1)

potentiallyprofound (876749) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264841)

I don't know about you, but I've got a bunker in my backyard, should one of the many planes/weather balloons/rocketships fall out of the sky. I figure this should do just fine for that.

Re:Heads up! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12265067)

What happens when this thing malfunctions and falls out of the sky?

My bet is that it'll hit the ground.

Re:Heads up! (3, Interesting)

mbaciarello (800433) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265074)

Mmmh... Forgive the metricness, but assuming that: the supporting structure weighs as much as its payload (not sure about this estimate); it has the same drag coefficient as a Boeing 747 [aerospaceweb.org] ; its cross-sectional area is a 44.20*26.52 meter rectangle (probably overestimated?); a constant air density of 1.2 kg/m^3 (sea-level, conservative); a gravitational acceleration of 9.72 m/s^2 (troposphere level, conservative)...

The thing should come down at a terminal velocity [wikipedia.org] of 35.12 m/s, corresponding to a kinetic energy of roughly 1,678,399.48 J or 4.11e-10 megatons. For comparison, a .45 bullet [ballisticsresearch.com] has 779.59 J at muzzle level. Too tired to look up grenades and other amenities.

Not much of a WMD even if it weighs ten times as much as I've supposed, anyhow, but still I wouldn't like it to fall on my home... Especially because that 3,000 lbs. payload should be pretty dense.

I hope someone can check this since I'm tired and I haven't been playing armchair physics for a long time...

Re:Heads up! (2, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265082)

If it does, I hope it falls in my backyard. Cause man...I'm gonna e-bay that puppy!

True Vaporware! (3, Funny)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264684)

This really adds a new dimension to the term "Vaporware".

What's the Frequency Kenneth? (4, Insightful)

bluedream (676879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264759)

Anybody catch what frequency this contraption is going to operate on?

Somehow I don't think it is going to be on a unlicensed frequency.

I love airships (5, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264773)

I love airships, and I really, really want them to return to the skies, since it's a technology that has a lot of room to develop if someone can get it off the ground. But this outfit has the feel of a fly-by-night stock scam. Listen to what the CEO has to say:

"In my opinion, the media is reporting on the progress of Sanswire One as they recognize the potential of our airship and the potential of causing what I always refer to as a paradigm shift in the telecommunications industry."

and here:

"This shows his belief in what we are trying to achieve at Sanswire. His innovative approach and out-of- the-box thinking is enabling us to successfully execute the program."

This is buzzword bullshit completely devoid of meaning, the kind of stuff you tell potential investors when you realize your scheme is gonna cost a whole lot more than you'll ever make. I'm thinking if they actually had a viable business plan you would hear something with a little more content from the CEO.

Re:I love airships (2, Insightful)

potentiallyprofound (876749) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264850)

I think he's just saying the following:

"In my opinion, the media is interested because there is potential that this could cause big changes in telecommunications."

and

"This shows his belief in what we are trying to achieve - the ideas he came up with are allowing us to make this work." Seems pretty sensical to me.

Re:I love airships (2, Informative)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264862)

Me too. But as an investment, the NASA helios is a proven platform that just needs a bit of refinement. Maybe a Helios inspired GPL project? I'd be willing to run if there is sufficient interest.

Re:I love airships (2, Insightful)

0olong (876791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264928)

This is buzzword bullshit completely devoid of meaning Which applies just as much to the parents post as to Sanswire's CEO. Let's base our criticism on facts, shall we?

Re:I love airships (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264980)

fly-by-night

It flies by day, also.

Above the jet stream? (0)

the plant doctor (842044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264831)

Ok. I heard a story on this on NPR last week. The comment was made that it would be above the strong winds that could tear it apart. So how do they get it past that level of the atmosphere to begin with?

Re:Above the jet stream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264892)

The jetstream doesn't cover the entire globe. It also moves north or south depending on the time of year, so you could time launches so the vehicle could reach altitude while the jet stream isn't in the way.

You could also probably launch them a few hundred miles away and move them once they're at the correct altitude.

And the investors made a mad dash for the exits. (1)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264941)

This Stratelite was on Slashdot nearly a year ago. [slashdot.org] They are now at a point of almost having a mockup [sanswire.com] built.

Sanswire has yet to get anything off the ground. Frankly this company and the flurry of press coverage smacks of venture capital investment scam, to me. There's a whole lot of hype and not much substance.

no word on its bandwidth or safety capabilities (1, Interesting)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264846)

I'm leery about the system they're showing, if they aren't ready to discuss bandwidth per customer and total numbers of simultaneous connections, etc.

Also, how heavy is it going to be, and how dangerous will it be for something like that, with its 3,000 pound payload capacity, to land for refueling? What if strong winds hit it, and it drifts off course? Have they built their refueling stations far away from population centers, so that if these start to get carried off by the wind, they can drop them more quickly, without running the danger of landing on buildings, etc.? What if they somehow lose radio contact?

Re:no word on its bandwidth or safety capabilities (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12264904)

The winds at the altitude these craft are designed to fly at are negligable. They are not hot air balloons, which don't have any propulsion of their own.

These would have means of controlling themselves thru wind layers just like blimps and derigables do today. Once low enough to the ground you can have ground handlers grab the tethers and haul it in.

Re:no word on its bandwidth or safety capabilities (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264949)

First of all, if one of these hit your house at 60 MPH it *MIGHT* break a window or scratch off some paint. Secondly, who says it has to land? If I put one of these in the air I would never land it. Put the most expensive batteries you can on it. When they run out you get a high altitude airplane to fly over the blimp and drop another set via parachute (to be grabbed by hook and line, most likely), and the blimp drops the old set via parasail which is guided back to ground remotely (or just dropped without a chute straight down onto a landing facility owned by the company with the equipment to keep it from making a dent).

bandwith? (3, Informative)

0olong (876791) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264872)

The Stratellites are unmanned airships and will be monitored from the Company's Operation Centers on the ground. I wonder what bandwith the connection with ground control would have. For large scale ISP services less than many many Gb/s would be insufficient. Anyone here able to estimate whether such would be a serious bottle neck or not? (I guess they might have just lowered a cable if it wouldn't be accompanied by giant lightning rod like properties)

Luxury homes (2, Funny)

Aggrav8d (683620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12264913)

...are these giant jetstream straddling, solar-powered technological oasies available as luxury homes? I imagine with carefull planning you could drag the definition of "hermit" kicking and screaming in exciting new directions.

Um... (3, Funny)

Kagura (843695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265011)

"...utilizing proprietary lifting gas technology"

What, a BALLOON?!

I see the Department of Defense included (1)

MrSoundAndVision (836415) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265049)

in that list of interested parties. But hey, at least this technology will serve the public interest in that it will provide convenient internet access! What a trade! Our privacy for high speed internet access! No wait, even better, trade our privacy for high speed internet access we not only pay for already with our taxes, but pay for again by subscribing to companies like Verizon. And pay for again because these filthy corporations aren't taxed as they should be. Only in America.

Please don't mix units. (3, Funny)

verloren (523497) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265112)

I understand the area covered in Texases, but what's this "pounds" of payload? How many VW's is that?

Ecosystem? (2, Funny)

NoseBag (243097) | more than 9 years ago | (#12265212)

Here's a thought:

If these puppies are to be up there for 18 months (yes, I RTFA), will they comprise a new "environment" that species could adapt to?

The floaty things would make a great rest area for migrating birds or bugs. Birds that migrate at 65K feet, that is. Maybe I should rethink this...

Real or Moeller Airocar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12265231)

TFA doesn't have much scoop about what was shown other than Sanswire press hype.

Since the picture shows a big hole in the side, i'm guessing nothing actually flew. building a static display is a little more difficult than actually flying at 65,000 feet or even 10,000 feet.

There is a static display of a Moeller at the factory. They will show it to anyone.

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