China’s Stratosphere Aerostat Will Be Better than Spy SatellitePosted: April 13, 2016
Modern spy satellite has great view to monitor a vast area in details but it has limited channels to pass lots of photos taken by reconnaissance drones. One satellite can only relays the photos taken by four drones.
An aerostat that can carry heavier equipment and remain geostatic in stratosphere will be much cheaper and better than a satellite for communications relay, intelligence collection, electronic suppression and aerial early warning.
China has recently successfully tested its 4Q00I-1 aerostat in Malan, Xinjiang. The aerostat remained entirely in control during the test and was recovered safely with all the equipment intact.
4Q001-1 aerostat had remained floating at the altitude of 19.3 km a little below the near space layer between 20 km and 100 km above earth surface. China plans to send an aerostat into that layer and have it remain there for quite a long time.
The Chinese aerostat has an Euler body structure like a flying disk in shape with a diameter of tens of meters. It uses solar energy to resist the strong wind in stratosphere and remain geostatic.
The article says so far the best aerostat in the world can only remain in the sky for about 30 hours, but the people in charge of China’s aerostat project want Chinese aerostat to remain in sky for weeks and even months with the immediate goal of having it remain in sky for a week.
Source: mil.eastday.com “The US will be scared! China discloses its ‘magic device’ high in the sky” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)