Sometimes it feels like I'm already living in the future. The US Army's Space and Missile defence command plans to have an unmanned spy-ship capable of loitering at 6000 metres (for up to three weeks) ready to deploy by mid-2011.
Dubbed the Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), the craft will be based on Lockheed Martin's P-791 experimental hybrid airship, which you can see in the video below. The smaller P-791 was 38 metres long, but flew six tests in 2006. It's known as a hybrid because only 80% of its lift comes from buoyancy; the other 20% comes from three downward thrusters on each side.
As for the LEMV: a 12-metre long, 4.6-metre wide area behind the only sometimes-manned cockpit will carry intelligence systems, like radar and wide-area motion sensors, that will beam information back to commanders on the ground.