As an example that not all government spending is wasteful, for the relatively modest price of $35 million, the US government successfully planted seed money that has now given birth to the first practical (and safe) generation of airship technology since the 1930s Hindenburg disaster. Unlike it’s hydrogen fueled ancestors, the new version features an all-aluminum structure and an advanced set of pressurized helium tanks that will be capable of hauling up to 66 tons of material over almost unlimited distances with the ability to take off and land virtually anywhere. Although it’s speed is obviously vastly slower than an airplane, it compares favorably with large cargo vessels while offering access to numerous locatations inaccessible either from sea or runway. One can easily imagine numerous applications ranging from commercial freight hauling to military transport to exotic tourist cruises never previously possible – not to mention that it’s nice to the see the US leading the way when it comes to export-ready technology.
Check out the intriguing video and more detailed article from Gizmodo below – Very cool stuff indeed and proof that smart public-private partnerships can actually produce profitable results.