PHILIPPE PSAILA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PSAILA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Zeppelin NT, a modern airship. Technicians watch the Zeppelin's manoeuvres. Built by Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH, a company which claims lineage from those founded by Frederick von Zeppelin in the early 20th century, this airship uses helium rather than flammable hydrogen for buoyancy. At 75 metres in length it is smaller than the original Zeppelins. With a full payload it has negative buoyancy and so has to rely upon lift gained from the engines, which can power it to speeds of up to 125 kilometres per hour. The first prototype airship was launched in 1997 and since 2001 they have been used to give flights for tourists and as observation platforms for television crews at major events.
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