It seems like Google’s founders just can’t keep their feet on the ground. A day after Larry Page-back company, Kitty Hawk, unveiled its Flyer aircraft, Google’s other founder, Sergey Brin, is reportedly building a giant airship. According to a report by Bloomberg, the airship (also known as a dirigible), is being built inside a hangar inside NASA’s Ames research facility. It is not yet known if the airship is being built as a prototype for a business venture, or for Brin himself.
Sources told the publication that the airship isn’t complete yet, but engineers have completed the metal frame. The report notes that the Google’s Planetary Venture LLC gained access to Ames facility a few years back, but the airship isn’t one of Alphabet’s projects. Alan Weston, former Director of programs at NASA Ames, is reportedly leading the airship project. In a radio interview in 2013, Weston talked about how airships can help reduce costs of transporting large amounts of cargo. He went on to describe an airship, which could used compressed helium to control buoyancy. “The way that works is that the helium in the main envelope is taken and stored in bags inside the airship at a slightly higher pressure. As you do that, air is taken in from the outside into essentially like lungs that are attached in the side of the vehicle. So the analogy of breathing is a good one. And the overall lift of the vehicle is equal to the weight of the air that is being displaced by the helium. And as you change that, you can control the amount of buoyancy that the vehicle has,” Weston said.
If Brin is working on an airship to transport cargo, he'll face stiff competition in the form of the Airlander 10, the world’s largest aircraft. Manufactured by Hybrid Air Vehicles, the airship is longer than an Airbus A380, and the company claims it has a payload capacity of 10,000 kg.