Google’s inventions: Lighter than air (LTA)

Google co-founder Sergey Brin started an airship company, LTA Research and Exploration – “LTA" being short for "Lighter Than Air", which began covertly building dirigibles capable of transporting huge amounts of goods for both business and humanitarian purposes back in 2017. Here’s everything you need to know about this ambitious project.

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Lighter Than Air, a massive 656-foot-long craft!

As a 656-foot-long aerostat, Lighter Than Air is the world’s largest active aircraft. LTA’s behemoth succeeds to airships of the 1930’s such as the Hindenberg and the 785-foot USS Macon, which were both destroyed by wind shear in a storm off California. It's interesting to note that the Hindenberg was once based in the same Mountain View hangars that LTA is now using. As Nasa is now operating this facility, LTA will have access to the expertise and technology of the American space agency.

A multitask giant aircraft

Sergey Brin reportedly wants to use the massive aircraft for humanitarian purposes, namely delivering food and supplies to remote locations. The aircraft will also be used as an air yacht to ensure the profitability of the project, carrying tourists on long-distance air trips. The Lighter Than Air airship is expected to be much faster than the first-generation airships, as Sergey Brin solicited the help of aerospace engineer Alan Weston, a former NASA executive.

LTA’s aircraft is helium powered

Sergey Brin originally wanted his Lighter Than Air airship to run on hydrogen as it is much cheaper and has more lift. This request was rejected by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) on the grounds that helium is hazardous, as it is highly flammable and has already caused tragic accidents. Inside sources say that LTA’s aircraft will be powered by helium.

Low production cost

The production cost of the Lighter Than Air blimp is between $100 and $150 million, much less than a Boeing commercial jet. If this airship works as planned, we’ll be seeing more companies delivering cargo by airship in years to come.

Google's interest in air travel shows just how broad the field of technology can be. This momentum of continuous innovation is what guarantees new jobs in all industries fueled by IT and digital. That's why the American Business School of Paris provides innovative programs to help students seize this opportunity!

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