Google’s Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder secretly been building a massive airship inside of Hangar 2 at the NASA. Ames Research Center, according to four people with knowledge of the project. It’s unclear whether the craft, which looks like a zeppelin, is a hobby or something Brin hopes to turn into a business. “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say about this topic right now,” Brin wrote in an email.
People review about Google’s Sergey Brin
The people familiar with the project said Brin has long been fascinate by airships. His interest in the crafts start when Brin would visit Ames. which is located next to Google parent Alphabet’s headquarters in Mountain View. In the 1930s, Ames was home to the USS Macon, a huge airship built by the U.S. Navy. About three years ago, Brin decided to build one of his own after ogling old photos of the Macon.
In 2015, Google unit Planetary Ventures took over the large hangars at Ames from NASA and turned them into laboratories for the company. Brin’s airship, which isn’t an Alphabet project, is already taking shape inside one. Engineers have constructed a metal skeleton of the craft, and it fills up much of the enormous hangar.
Alan Weston, the former director of programs at NASA Ames, is leading Brin’s airship project, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing the secretive plans. Weston didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Weston has a background befitting such an unusual enterprise.
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Born to Australian parents, Weston spent some of his youth in Turkey and then ended up at the University of Oxford. There he became a key member of the Dangerous Sports Club – a group of very intelligent risk-takers that formed in the early 1970’s and did things such as catapult people across fields into nets.
Members of the club credit with inventing the modern form of bungee jumping. Weston, for example, performed one of the first bungee jumps by hurling himself off California’s Golden Gate Bridge and then eluded the authorities waiting to capture him on shore. He also hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and then attempted to hang-glide down, only to crash and hurt his ankle in the process.
Years later, Weston join the Air Force and study engineering work as part of the US government’s Strategic Defense Initiative.This is known more broadly as the Star Wars missile defense system. In 1989, Weston oversaw one of the first tests of Star Wars. Which aim to destroy incoming Russian missiles midair with weapons fired from space.
Following his stint at the Air Force, Weston joined NASA. And work on a wide number of projects including the development of a low-cost lunar lander.
In a radio interview in 2013, Weston describe the plans for an airship that could be used to haul cargo. The idea is that airships could be more fuel-efficient than planes. This could carry loads directly to where they’re needed, rather than to transport centers like airports or shipping stations.
“New airship technologies have the promise to reduce the cost of moving things per ton-mile by up to an order of magnitude,” Weston said in the interview. “It depends on the size of the airship. A larger airship can reduce costs a lot more than a smaller ship, but there’s design of a class of vehicles that can lift up to 500 tons that could be actually more fuel-efficient than even a truck.”
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He went on to describe a prototype he was considering of a helium-base craft that appear to breathe. “And so the way that works is that the helium take in the main envelope. And store in bags inside the airship at a slightly higher pressure”.
So the analogy of breathing is a good one. And as you change that, you can control the amount of buoyancy that the vehicle has.”
This technique, according to Weston, would allow the airship to carry 500 tons without the need for a ballast. After asking about the airship, Weston change his profile on LinkedIn. He then remove the post.
There have been many attempts to build airships of this type in recent years. It’s fitting for such a project to take place in Silicon Valley. Which seems a steampunk phase as people race to build things ranging from flying cars to tiny reusable rockets.
Google’s Sergey Brin airship is separate from a freight project name is Calcifer.
Alphabet CEO Page, Brin’s Google co-founder fund at least two secretive flying-car projects. Startups Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero also separate from Alphabet.