At France's oldest - and largest - test wind tunnel at Chalais-Meudon, French scientists have been putting the model of a new "flying saucer" through its first paces.
At France's oldest - and largest - test wind tunnel at Chalais-Meudon, French scientists have been putting the model of a new "flying saucer" through its first paces. Known as "Pegase", it is not named after the mythical flying horse, but for the initials of "Plate-forme d'Etudes Geophyeiques of Astroneutiques" (Platform for Geophyeicel and Astronautical Studies).
The model - filmed on Tuesday (October 10) - is 8 metres (yards) in diameter by 2 metres (yards) high. This is approximately a scale of 1/40, as the original is expected to surpass 300 metres (yards) in diameter and have a capacity of 3 million cubic metres.
"Pegase" was first thought of by Engineer Pierre Balaskovic in 1970, at the National Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics. The idea is to place it at about 22 kilometres (14 miles) from earth as a "geostationary" balloon - to be used as a platform for various studies, primarily meteorological, and a television or telephone relay station. It this is proved viable, one of the main problems of such platforms could be eliminated - how to keep it in one place without an earth-bound cable. "Pegase" is equipped with propellers and is expected to hover over a land beacon in what is described as "a delicate play of cybernetic mechanism".
The "flying saucer" shape itself is under test - so far it is not even certain that this would be the final acceptable shape for "Pegase". If aerodynamic problems arise from the wind tunnel tests, the scientists may return to the more traditional balloon shapes.
SYNOPSIS: A large model of a flying saucer is tasted in a wind tunnel in France. Called "Pegase" - it is not named after the mythical flying horse, but the name is made up from the French initials for Platform for Geophysical and astronautical Studies. The one-fortieth scale model is eight yards wide by two yards high. If completed, the life-size Pegase will surpass three hundred yards in width. and have a capacity of three million cubic yards.
Pegase is expected to become a platform for meteorological and other studies, or a television and telephone relay station. Equipped with propellers and filled with helium balloons, it is expected to hover fourteen miles above the earth over a beacon, by means of what the research scientists have described as "a delicate play of cybernetic mechanism." But nothing is certain, and if the wind tunnel tests are not successful, they may have to think again.