The line dividing the domains of outer space and inner-atmosphere flight is quickly being blurred by inventions like the Tandem Airship, which recently claimed the record for the highest altitude flight ever.
$30,000 and three long years of hard work by engineers with California's JP Aerospace helped produce the Tandem Airship. All told, the contraption weighs a paltry 80 pounds, including the airship's keel frame, balloons and twin propellers designed specifically to operate in thin air. Using the lift of the helium balloons, the dirigible soared to an astronomical height of 95,085 feet -- almost four miles higher than any other airship. John Powell, the President of JP Aerospace, explains that the plane will serve as an intermediary launching pad for research probes and space shuttles in the near future, ultimately making the recesses of outer space more accessible to everyone.