China’s biggest aircraft named Yuanmeng (which means “dream”) had its maiden flight this month. Making 75 metres in length, it reached a near-space altitude of 20 kilometres during a 48-hour test flight last week.
When it is fully inflated, its volume is around 18,000 m³. With a height of 22 metres, it can carry from 4.5 to 6.4 metric tonnes.
The aircraft makes use of helium gas to stay in the air and its electronics are powered by solar energy.
The Yuanmeng can allegedly fly for up to 6 months at one time. Imagine going on a cruise onboard the aircraft! However, its purpose has not been clearly defined yet. But, according to some reports, it will perhaps be used for communication since it contains systems for wideband communication, data relay, high-definition observation, and spatial imaging.