Google co-founder Sergey Brin is now working on creating a secretive airship company. He is planning to make effective use of the “air yacht” for delivering humanitarian aid. For more than four years he is working on a secretive airship company known as LTA Research and Exploration. Basically, “LTA” is the short form of “lighter than air.”
The company has got its start within NASA’s Ames Research Center in 2017. For the last 4years, LTA Research has now worked for bringing its version of zero-emission aircraft to life.
Here’s how Berin’s interest in airships started and everything which so far about his venture. In 2005, Brin and his Google co-founder, Larry Page has made an unusual purchase of a Boeing 767-20. This is jet capable of carrying out 180 passengers. However, the pair has refurbished the plane for accommodating 50 passengers and serves as their executive jet. This is far cry from the standard, significantly, and Gulfstream jet which is typically favored by executives.
As per the court documents which were later published by The Wall Street Journal. Both Brin and Page have ended up arguing over what kind of beds to include in the so-called “party plane.” Soon, they wanted will include features like hammocks and a cocktail lounge.
Brin’s interest in aircraft has now extended beyond the company jet: In 2012, at the time of the launch of Google Glass. Brin has a team of skydivers leap from a Zeppelin hovering over San Franciso. The skydivers are capable of capturing footage on the headset and the Brin has aired it live onstage.
Also, Brin has overseen the growth of various kinds of aircraft during his time at X that is Google’s moonshot lab. Projects which are under the X umbrella involve Loon. This is a way to deliver internet connectivity through balloons. Makani planned to provide electricity by making use of the Kites and Wing drone delivery project. Since then both Loon and Makhani have been closed.
As per the 2017 Bloomberg story by Ashlee Vance, Brin has decided to build his own airship in the year 2014, after visiting the Ames Research Centre which is located near Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarter. Previously, Ames was the home for the USS Macon which is an enormous airship created by the US Navy in the 1930s. Moreover, this airship inspired Brin’s project as per Bloomberg. The USS Macon was called the “Queen of the Skies,” which later on crashed into the Pacific Ocean which is 45 miles off the coast of San Francisco. This essentially ended the Navy’s airship program.
In 2017, the company will soon reveal that the LTA has made a payment of $131,000 for lease hangar space from Alphabet. However, the hangar is located at the Moffett Field, A NASA airfield adjacent to Ames which is currently operated by Google. In 2019 December, both Page and Brin stepped away from the duties at Alphabet.
According to a 2017 report, the airship has now expected to be almost 200 meters long which is equivalent to around 656 feet which is two football fields in the length. In comparison, the infamous Hindenburg Zeppelin was around 245 meters longer than that of the three Boeing 747s.
As per the Sources, LTA was funded by Brin himself that tune over $100 million. Further, it is not clear that four years later how much Brin has spent on the airships.
This aircraft will be used for bringing humanitarian aid which involves food and supplies in the remote areas of the world. This because the airships may not need a traditional airport runway for landing. However, the blimp may theoretically be reached out to the regions which are otherwise inaccessible.
LTA’s website mentions, “With these next-generation airships, we strive to improve humanitarian aid delivery and reduce carbon emissions while providing economic opportunity and new jobs to Americans.”
As per SFGate’s Madeline Wells, airships are much faster than cargo ships and also produced around 80%-90% fewer emissions than traditional aircraft. LTA mentioned that its goal is eventually created “a family of aircraft with zero emissions.”
However, Airships are like the Goodyear blimp which has been filled with helium since the Hindenburg disaster. The Hindenburg has relied on hydrogen for lifting it off the ground which the hydrogen is highly flammable. On the other hand, LTA appears to be revisiting the utility of hydrogen with its aircraft.
LTA states that the company was now looking out for a hydrogen program manager as Techcrunch stated that the company was now looking out for the hydrogen program manager. The company is on the verge of developing its own massive hydrogen fuel cell. This would weigh less than a lithium-ion battery and is powerful enough which the airship could cross oceans.
Notably, LTA relies on helium for lifting the aircraft off the ground. As per the TechCrunch reports that the LTA has already created a prototype aircraft which is called the Pathfinder 1. However, the airship that will still be powered by lithium-ion batteries, includes 12 electric motors and the capability of transporting 14 passengers. It is quite ready to fly soon this year.
Notably, the company mentioned that on its website, it has made use of the laser cutter and 3D printer which facilitates in Mountain View and Akron, Ohio, for producing 150 components for facing the shields per day. It contributes more than 250,000 free face shields to the hospitals, medical practices, and emergency workers nationwide in the early months of the Covid.
Notably, LTA partnered with the NGOs globally which ultimately providing over 5 million face shields worldwide, as per the company.