Rendering of Solar Ship over desert landscape

By crossing airships with airplanes, Solar Ship is creating craft that can carry heavy loads long distances with a tiny carbon footprint. Filled with helium, they soak up rays from the sun to provide the energy for forward motion and fulfill its original design challenge – carry 1,000 kilograms (2,205 lbs) of payload 1,000 kilometers (621.4 miles).

The company says it has recently completed and flown its first prototype and plans a three-strong range with both solar-only and hybrid models. From the 150 kg-capable (330.7 lbs) sun-powered Caracal, to the range-extended, mothership-sized Nanuq with the ability to haul 30 metric tons (66,139 lbs), the Canadian firm envisions its flying machines doing tasks as diverse as hauling humanitarian relief to moving payloads for mining operations in remote locations.

Though public demonstration of the heavier-than-air craft will only occur sometime in the summer of 2013, you can get a preview of the company's aeronautical vision in the promotional video after the break.