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"I kind of take it for granted that our great-grandchildren will regard us as a sort of precursor species. That they won't think of us as human and if we could see them, we probably wouldn't think of them as human either."
- William Gibson

Stratovideo (Television Plane)  
  An aircraft with studios that continuously broadcast line-of-sight television.  

How could you provide line-of-sight communication without having to put satellite facilities into orbit?

...after much experimentation by the Westinghouse and the Glenn Martin people a satisfactory substitute was found in the high-flying planes. A few of these planes, spotted around the country, handled the whole television load nicely. Known as Stratovideo planes, they were equipped with studios; many programs originated in the air and were transmitted directly, others beamed from the aircraft to ground stations and then relayed. The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day, were refuelled in air, and dropped down to ten thousand feet every eight hours to meet the Contact planes and take on a new shift of workers.
From The Morning of the Day They Did It, by E.B. White.
Published by The New Yorker Magazine in 1950
Additional resources -

The story also calls it a "television plane."

A considerable amount of research is going into the idea of aircraft that could circle slowly (and indefinitely) at high altitude, providing line-of-sight communication services like cell phones, or for surveillance purposes.

The remarkable Helios aircraft created by NASA is shown below; solar-powered and remotely piloted, it succeeded in reaching a maximum altitude of 97,000 feet.


(NASA Helios aircraft)

In the picture shown above, Helios is at 10,000 feet northwest of Kauai, Hawaii in August 2001. It is poking along at just 25 miles per hour. Helios is an ultralight flying wing with 14 electric motors, built by AeroVironment Inc. Helios' 247 foot wide wing is covered with solar cells.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Morning of the Day They Did It
  More Ideas and Technology by E.B. White
  Tech news articles related to The Morning of the Day They Did It
  Tech news articles related to works by E.B. White

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