Back to the future
June 25, 2006 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Lokheed Martin is currently developing a high-altitude, solar-powered airship for the Missile Defense Agency (aka "Son of Star Wars") for surveillance and communication purposes. Doesn't that sound familiar? Why, it's just the same concept touted by Sky Station International Inc. (headed by a certain Gen. Alexander "I'm in charge here!" Haig) during the Internet bubble years as the broadband provider of the future! Nowadays, Sky Station is only a memory in the vaults of the Internet Archive and a few long-abandoned patent applications but it is interesting to notice that Lockheed Martin apparently was the designated end-to-end system integrator for Sky Station (you'll need to scroll down that text to reach the relevant passage)...
posted by Skeptic (9 comments total)
Blimps are cool, but we need a good ornithopter.
posted by Balisong at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2006

Strange, I'm almost positive Skynet was supposed to come online in 1997. I mean, how else do you explain the fact that the Terminator took over Sacramento nearly three years ago?

posted by Davenhill at 4:31 PM on June 25, 2006

Interesting that Lockheed Martin is pushing the surveillance part of its security products. Aside from being the largest arms dealer in the world, they also manage most of the electronic highway toll systems installed in the US. So if you're in a car, their client can scrutinize your travel habits, and if you're not in a car their client can watch what else you're doing outside. Violating civil rights is more than just tracking terrorists overseas, it is about taking steps towards developing a lucrative domestic market.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:33 PM on June 25, 2006

I'm almost positive Skynet was supposed to come online in 1997.

Sidereal inserts standard rant about Project Management overruns, denies actually working on said project for said company if in fact said project or company in fact exists.
posted by sidereal at 5:06 PM on June 25, 2006

Someone else tell him it's "LoCkheed." I can't do it!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:22 PM on June 25, 2006

They're going to have to invent new bad guys for this one I think. Terrorists in caves just aren't gonna cut it.
posted by dobie at 7:25 PM on June 25, 2006
posted by Eideteker at 11:18 PM on June 25, 2006

I want to live in a high-altitude, solar-powered airship, also for surveillance and communication purposes. I want to just kind of float around looking at stuff and shouting hi to the people I float past, maybe goatherds on mountains. Can we arrange this?
posted by pracowity at 7:23 AM on June 26, 2006

BlackLeotard, that was a typo. If you read the post you'll see that the second time I spelled it correctly.

Apart from that, I don't know why everybody has focussed on the conspiracy aspect. I think there are many more sinister surveillance schemes out there than stratospheric blimps. No, what struck me about this is how an idea that was basically laughed out of the room in the telecoms market (no stranger to wacky schemes) has been refloated by the bucketloads of money the Pentagon currently has at its disposal. Considering that the MDA should have more pressing priorities than blimps (for instance, an interceptor that actually works), this appears to me to be a pretty obvious piece of budget padding, purely designed to offer a sacrificial lamb should MDA suddenly be confronted with a more critical Congress (say, after the mid-term elections...)
posted by Skeptic at 2:36 PM on June 26, 2006

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