The revolutionary Pseudo-Satellites of High Altitude (HAPS) can maintain their position for weeks on end, which can be used for monitoring the ground as well as emergency response surveillance.
European companies unveiled versions of the craft that works best at an altitude of roughly 12.4 miles, showing high hopes for the invention that could very much revolutionize communication – and undercover snoop work.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is interested in securing a novel high-altitude aircraft that would bridge the gap between drones and satellites.
This aircraft would, ultimately, observe Earth from miles above the surface, without ever having to leave the atmosphere. The ‘pseudo-satellites’ could sustain in their place for weeks, thus enabling consecutive coverage from above the clouds.
European companies have thrown their hat into the race against time and offered their experience, technology, finances and sharpest brains to make this dream come true.
These aerospace firms include Airbus’s solar-powered Zephyr craft – the same craft which broke world records after a 14-day flight in 2010 – and Thales Alenia Space’s balloon-like airship named Stratobus.
High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) work best at an altitude of roughly 12.4 miles. This region is about 6.2 miles above where commercial airliners travel. As reported by ESA, the craft could observe the surface from the ground to the range of about 310 miles away.
The HAPS would not be constrained to high wind velocities, meaning they could maintain their stand for weeks, if not months, at a time.
Antonio Ciccolella, a future-systems specialist, elaborated on further developments: “For Earth observation, they could provide prolonged high-resolution coverage for priority regions, while for navigation and telecoms they could shrink blind spots in coverage and combine wide bandwidth with negligible signal delay. ESA is looking into how these various domains can be best brought together.”
The Most Iconic Movie Endings That Were Never Supposed To Exist
At the end of Titanic, the Rose reveals she had the Heart Of The Ocean necklace the whole time. Alone on deck, she releases the jewel into the ocean. In an alternative ending, Rose is in front of the team, and has to convince them of the value of life over material things, and they reluctantly let her toss the Heart into the ocean.
Pretty In Pink
In the love triangle between Andie, Duckie, and Blane, you expect the nice guy to eventually triumph and get the girl. Instead, Pretty In Pink ends with Andie and Blane sharing a kiss in the parking lot. In the original ending, though, Duckie did not see Blane’s good side. The film ended initially with Duckie and Andie dancing at prom to David Bowie’s “Heroes,” implying they end up dating. Preview screenings showed, though, that audiences did not like that ending, so it was nixed.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
The end of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial is literally heartwarming, as E.T.’s heart glows as he says goodbye to Elliot as he boards his ship. Then his finger glows, and he tells Elliot he will always exist on earth – through his brain and memory. Robert MacNaughton, who played Michael, Elliot’s brother, says the ending was supposed to be different. MacNaughton relates that in the original ending, you see E.T.’s communicator still on the roof, implying the alien and Elliot keep in direct contact.
Return Of The Jedi
The end of Return Of The Jedi shows the rebels celebrating on various planets, including on Endor, where Ewoks and droids cheered the destruction of the death star. George Lucas picked this triumphantly happy ending, while producer Gary Kurtz wanted a more emotional subtlety, leading to a darker ending where the audience is left somewhat conflicted. Part of Kurtz’s vision was that Han Solo would die in the middle of the film, but Lucas feared this would affect merchandising sales. Cash is king, so the happy ending triumphed.
John Rambo is against a metaphorical wall at the end of First Blood. He breaks down and cries, recalling in horror the gore of Vietnam to his former commanding officer Colonel Sam Trautman. After giving him some solace, Trautman convinces Rambo to give up his fight with the Sherriff’s Department, and escorts him into their custody. In the alternative ending, Rambo all but forces Trautman to euthanize him, essentially ending in Rambo’s suicide. Hollywood executives realized though that that would mean no sequels, and scrapped that storyline.
Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, has become of the most popular neo-noir sci-fi films. A sequel starring Ford with Ryan Gosling was released in 2017. An alternative ending shows Ford’s character Deckard and love-interest Rachael driving in a futuristic car in the mountains, talking about how they are lovers. The bright, earthy images were scrapped, in favor of a much more on-tone, dark, industrial ending, where the couple goes into an elevator after receiving an enigmatic message in the form of an origami bird.
The theatrical version of Terminator 2 includes Sarah Connor’s nightmarish vision of Judgement Day; children frolicking in a playground are turned to crumbling ash as the shockwave of a nuclear explosion hits them. At the end of the theatrical version, we never see if her vision came true. However, in an alternative ending, you can see Sarah at a playground, on the August 29th, 2029, with all-grown-up Senator John Connor, and his daughter, safe and sound. Removing this scene allowed the plot to continue in Terminator 3.
Little Shop Of Horrors
The ending of Little Shop Of Horrors that ended up being shown in theatres fulfilled the wishes in Audrey’s pining song “Somewhere That’s Green.” Audrey and Seymour end up in their little suburban happy place, with the chorus girls playing bridesmaids at their wedding. However, the original ending was much darker, where Audrey II spreads across the planet, and destroys cities as the army fails to contain the plant. This twenty-three minute, expensive, special-effects-heavy chunk was all cut out in favor of the happy ending.
The original script of Seven was not as dark as you would expect from a David Fincher film. When Brad Pitt’s character screamed and pleaded, “what’s in the box?!” the original script answered that his pet dog’s head in it, rather than his pregnant wife’s head. Also, the original script had Morgan Freeman’s character as the final triggerman. Upon reading the first version, Pitt provided the studio with an ultimatum. He agreed to do the movie only if it was the wife’s head and his character shot John Doe.
The Princess Diaries
At the end of The Princess Diaries, Anne Hathaway’s character finally accepts her place on the throne of Genovia, making the transformation from awkward high schooler to royalty. The original cut of the ending just included Hathaway’s character verbally stating she’d like to be the Princess. When Director Garry Marshall showed this to his granddaughter, the five-year-old said she wanted to see Hathaway’s new palace. Marshall took the criticism to heart and added a view of a castle with the Genovian flag in the final cut.
The Bourne Identity
At the theatrical end of The Bourne Identity, Jason finds Marie in her hideout: a scooter shop in Mykonos. They reunite with a coy, understated exchange. Unlike many Hollywood endings, the main characters do not kiss, but share a relatively austere embrace, with the audience left to imagine the specifics of their relationship. In the alternate ending, the pair has a cheesy makeout session on a beach at sunset, which was eventually seen as too tacky for a daredevil spy like Jason Bourne.
At the end of Alien, Ripley realizes she is not alone on her shuttle. In the ensuing battle with the alien, Ripley jettisons the creature out into space by opening the airlock. The alien hangs onto the engine, but Ripley puts it on full blast, burning the alien to a crisp. She finally relaxes and eventually records a log entry. The original ending was much darker: the alien manages to bite Ripley’s head off. Then, it records a log entry, creepily using the deceased Ripley’s voice.
National Lampoon’s Vacation
Chevy Chase’s character and his family are desperate for some fun at the amusement park Walley World after experiencing hell on their road trip to get there. When they finally arrive and the park is closed, they snap. Using a sidearm, they force security to let them in the park under duress, where the family rides the rollercoasters. Originally, the ending was Chase using the sidearm to threaten the owner of Walley World in his home. This tested very poorly with audiences, so director Harold Ramis cut it out.
The Lion King
At the end of The Lion King, Simba finally learns the truth of the matter of who murdered Mufasa from Scar. To escape punishment, Scar blames the hyenas, and Simba exiles Scar. Karma kicks in, and Scar is engulfed and slayed by the hyenas. In the original story, Scar seemingly wins his battle with Simba, throwing him off a cliff. However, the fall is broken by a tree, and Scar is engulfed by the flames of the burning Pride Rock.
The Butterfly Effect
This film, which involved multiple, branching storylines, almost beckons for alternative endings. Ashton Kutcher plays the protagonist in the dark psychological thriller, a far cry from his role as the ditzy Michael Kelso on That ’70s Show. Many endings were proposed where Kutcher somehow breaks off relations with his friend Kayleigh, as his addition into her life seems to bring only pain. The director’s cut, though, provides the darkest version of their friendship ending: Kutcher’s character goes back into the womb, and strangles himself with his umbilical cord.
Alfred Hitchcock was known as the “master of suspense,” and the ending of The Birds shows a perfect example of that. Thousands of ominous, creepy, perching birds surround the main characters as they get into a car. The military is called in, and the unresolved nature of the bird problem gives the audience a feeling of suspense. Originally, Hitchcock wanted an even more heightened image: birds completely engulfing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Although more powerful image-wise, this shot was too expensive to carry out.
Kevin Smith’s Clerks follows “Quick Stop” convenience store employee Dante and his friend Randal as they chat about life, and talk through romantic relationships. The black-and-white indie film has developed a cult following. At the end of the day, Dante and Randal make plans to hang out again, and laugh as Randal shimmies out the door of the store. In the original ending, a dark scene followed where Dante is shot and killed by a robber. Smith eventually opted for the happier ending, pleasing audiences.
The 2008 stoner-comedy Pineapple Express follows a perma-high dealer and his client played by James Franco and Seth Rogan, respectively. The pair finds themselves mixed up in a dangerous gang war, and end up somehow making it of the final gunfight alive- bruised, bleeding, and burned – but alive. At the end, the pair talk over their friendship, and eventually Franco’s grandmother, drives them to the hospital. In a darker alternate ending, the bromance is cut short as they both perish in the gunfight.
I Am Legend
In I Am Legend, Will Smith is isolated from humans, and surrounded by malicious darkseekers, a sort of vampire-zombie hybrid, as he tries to engineer a way to turn them back into humans. Finally, at the end of the film, he discovers the cure and hands it off to Anna. In the process, though, Smith’s character pays the ultimate price defending Anna against a horde of darkseekers. In an alternate cut, the darkseekers are peaceful, and they come to Smith’s lab only to collect one of their comrades.
Hannibal Lecter was originally portrayed in the film Silence Of The Lambs, which famously won Anthony Hopkins an Oscar after only appearing on screen for only 16 minutes! A sequel was inevitable after such a success. At the end of the movie, Agent Starling handcuffs herself to Lecter. It’s implied that he cuts his hand off to escape in a cut to the next scene. In the alternative ending, there are no handcuffs, but a fruitless chase scene instead. Both versions end with Hannibal escaping.
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story
At the end of DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, you think that the Average Joes have lost to the Globo Gym bad guys, and Average Joe gym is out of business. In a plot twist, it turns out that through smart sports betting, the Average Joes have the money to buy Globo Gym, putting them out of business. However, this is not, a “true underdog story” as the title purports. In the original ending, the bad guys win, but that version tested so poorly producers chose the happy ending.
Gone With The Wind
The end of Gone With The Wind boasts the top movie line ever spoken, according to a vote by the American Film Institute. When Scarlett O’Hara asks, misty-eyed, “Where shall I go? What shall I do?”, Rhett Butler famously answers resoundingly, “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” O’Hara, in the original ending, is crying, yet optimistic declaring, “tomorrow is another day.” In an alternate ending, she makes a last-ditch attempt to get Rhett back by pleading, “you’ll come back! I know you will!”
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is an extremely inventive film, which creates a universe where romantic comedy meets arcade gaming. Scott spends the movie trying to win over Ramona Flowers. To get her, Scott has to fight seven of her ex-boyfriends, in a fantastical video game style. In the original ending, Scott ends up with Ramona as he defeats all the ex-boyfriends. In an alternative ending, he ends up with loyal ex-girlfriend Knives Chau, and they go to the arcade together.
Donnie Darko is a confusing film that requires a couple of viewings (at least) to fully comprehend the storyline. It includes images of violence, and creepy imagery that is more psychological thriller than science fiction. At the end of the film, it’s implied that Donnie is killed by a plane engine that accidentally gets loose and falls on his house. In the original ending, all the carnage is shown, with the camera panning past the loose, sparking wires of the broken roof to show Donnie impaled through the chest.
28 Days Later
This zombie movie shows post-apocalyptic London through the eyes of Jim, who wakes up from a coma in the hospital to discover that society has collapsed. In the original ending, Jim and friends hide in a remote cottage, and it’s implied they will be rescued by a helicopter. In what director Danny Boyle calls the real ending, Jim dies after he is shot, dying in a hospital, bringing him back full circle to a hospital bed. There was another alternative ending proposed, but it never got filmed.
Ronin is a classic, but viewers might have felt like there were strings left dangling at the end of John Frankenheimer’s 1998 action movie. In the alternate ending, Deirdre is shown on her way to the café, and then she stops and goes to her car to think about it, apparently. Suddenly, a van rolls up beside her and armed men abduct her. Meanwhile, Sam is sitting at the café, but his frustration at not knowing why she never shows up is given an extra dimension.
In 1408, John Cusack plays Mike Enslin, a writer who follows reports of paranormal activity to prove these claims false. He arrives at the Dolphin Hotel to investigate strange occurrences in room 1408 (where else?), where he soon encounters a horror he finds difficult to explain away. The default Director’s Cut edition has Enslin dying in the room instead of surviving and reuniting with his wife, as in the theatrical release. In the alternate ending, Enslin reunites with his dead daughter as a ghost.
Interstellar was another Christopher Nolan movie intended to leave audiences with a sense of wonder at the end, but some were disappointed by the deus ex machina ending. The 2014 flick actually has another ending, however, which was written by Nolan’s brother, Jonathan. He planned that “the Einstein-Rosen bridge collapses when Cooper tries to send the data back.” He gets sucked in the black hole and his daughter never communicates with him. A gravity-wave observatory picks up on his signals, making the ending all the sadder. We’re thankful that Christopher’s happy ending won out in the end.
Die Hard With a Vengeance
Die Hard is one of the greatest action series’ thanks in no small part to the third movie. Die Hard With a Vengeance added Samuel L. Jackson (Zeus) and the equally legendary Jeremy Irons (Gruber) to the cast. In an alternate ending, Gruber makes it with the gold and McClane (Bruce Willis) is blamed for the damage done to the city. McClane is fired, but he finds Gruber and exacts revenge with an RPG. That’s much better than the bigger boom in the theatrical release when he makes Gruber’s helicopter crash.
Clue didn’t perform that well at the box office, and it’s a shame because the studio actually greenlighted three different endings to be shown at different theaters. People who saw the same movie would argue over who the culprit was before realizing they had seen different versions. One had Miss Scarlet, another had Mrs. Peacock, while a third had a variety of different characters carrying out the murder. A feature on the DVD randomizes it so you never know what version you’re going to get!
Army of Darkness
Army of Darkness, the third installment in the Evil Dead series, had a different ending in the international release from the U.S. release. American audiences saw Ash return home to modern times and combat Deadites at the S-Mart. International viewers, on the other hand, saw Ash drink a magic potion that’s supposed to make him sleep for 100 years. When he wakes up, the world is now overrun with Deadites. This fits with Ash’s character messing everything up, but the American version makes more sense with the over-the-top blood and gore comedy at the S-Mart.
Terry Gilliam is notorious for hating to work for big studios, and one forcing his hand over the ending of Brazil is one of the reasons why. In an alternate ending, Sam is never endowed with the gift of flight that grants him freedom from the Ministry. His daydreams never materialize into reality and he is forced to confront that it’s all a figment of his imagination. The studio was convinced after unauthorized screenings Gilliam held showed Sam strapped to a chair. Furthermore, he won awards for the movie, so they allowed it in the end.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb has one of the most iconic movie endings ever. Instead of the iconic image of Slim Pickens riding the bomb like a cowboy to Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again,” an alternate ending for Dr. Strangelove has a giant food fight of custard pies breaking out in the war room. Furthermore, Dr. Strangelove accuses the President (both of whom are played by Peter Sellars) and the Russian Ambassador of needing to be institutionalized. That’s like the pot calling the kettle black.
The James Cameron-directed, Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Terminator is one of his biggest. There is an alternate ending for it that sets up the sequels perfectly. In this version, the camera shows a group of people dressed in suits hiding the Terminator from the police after the incident at the factory. Meanwhile, the audience learns that the company behind the factory is Cyberdyne Systems, which built Skynet. There’s no better way to lead into the awesome action in the following movie, Terminator 2.
Sweet Home Alabama
Thankfully, Sweet Home Alabama ended with a kiss between Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas getting interrupted by the town sheriff. They then make their way back to their friends to celebrate. The movie isn’t really that good, but it could have been so much worse. In the alternate ending, the kiss is interrupted by lightning and Lucas brings Witherspoon’s lifeless body back to the party. Then, when everyone is sure the worst has happened, she comes to life and renounces the identity she assumed. A slow dance follows and it’s so disgustingly cheesy.
The apocalyptic film 2012, which refers to the alleged end of the world foreseen by the ancient Mayans, has an alternate ending. Instead of the happy ending we all know, we are faced with concluding something far darker. The African continent rises and is apparently spared the destruction. All the survivors are then seen traveling there and about to make landfall. If you think about it, settling the continent would actually mean conquering land from countries that already have sovereignty, and that sounds kind of like colonialism.
Infernal Affairs is an awesome Hong Kong movie whose twisting plot was so tight that it was bought by Hollywood. The resulting movie is the Oscar-winning The Departed, but there’s actually another version made because of Chinese censorship. Lau, the bad guy, is seen arrested so viewers are left with the understanding that the bad guys never win. This sort of survived into the Martin Scorsese version, as Matt Damon’s character is taken out by Mark Wahlberg’s character even though Lau remains at large, leaving room for the sequels.
In Hitchcock’s 1941 classic movie, Suspicion, Cary Grant’s character Johnnie was supposed to be revealed as the killer, just as his wife suspected all along. Grant’s perception as a hero, however, was a commodity for the studio, RKO, and they gave Hitchcock a nudge when audiences protested seeing Grant play such an unscrupulous character. The master director always complained that he had to change the ending to a happy one, one where Johnnie was innocent of trying to hurt his wife.
There’s an intentionally ambiguous ending at the conclusion of Tsotsi, where the titular character raises his hands while surrounded by the police. Other endings, though, didn’t have him surrendering the stolen baby. One had him escape after getting shot in the arm, while another had him getting killed by a wound to the chest to the horror of onlookers. “In terms of choosing which ending to use, the big thing was which ending made people talk more,” director Gavin Hood said. In the end, leaving the ending open to interpretation contributed most to the conversation.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ends in a glorious freeze-frame, with both Robert Redford and Paul Newman charging out to certain death. At long last, after years of exile, they’ve finally been found and are forced to pay the consequences — but on their terms. All the while, you hear gunshots blazing, yet all you can see is the image of them. In the original ending, though, they’re seen meeting their end at the hands of the Bolivians and there’s nothing heroic about it.
Men In Black II
At the end of Men In Black II, Laura needs to leave Earth on a transport ship. In hot pursuit, though, is the Medusa-inspired Selena, who flies above the Manhattan skies, only to be shot by plasma guns in plain sight of millions of New Yorkers. The original scene also had the skies dotted with spacecraft around the city’s skyscrapers, including swarming near the World Trade Center. After September 11th, 2001, this now distasteful ending had to be re-shot for the 2002 release.
The main characters of this film are highway cops. They are trying hard to prevent the shutdown of their laid-back highway cop station by the more professional-minded local cops. You are led to believe that the end is disappointing, as the highway cops do lose their jobs. In the original ending, the gang gets new jobs as delivery people, when suddenly, a plot twist reveals they’re actually undercover cops! The alternative ending has a similar plot twist, but they masquerade as meat-packers rather than deliverymen.
The plot behind Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film, featuring Jack Nicholson’s performance as the possessed guest of the Overlook Hotel, was originally the brainchild of horror writer Stephen King. At the end of the book, the hotel burns down, with Nicholson’s character perishing inside. Kubrick believed this ending was too clichéd; after all, many movies do end with the whole building exploding. A hospital scene was also in the original film ending. Kubrick saw that it was unnecessary and chose Jack to freeze and the menacing hotel to stand.
Thelma And Louise
As Thelma and Louise find themselves on the cliff overlooking the Grand Canyon, they stop for a moment to consider the beauty of the view. Suddenly, an army of rifle-wielding police come out of nowhere, surrounding them. The iconic ending shows the partners-in-crime deciding to, “keep going,” meaning drive off the cliff, which is what they do. The original ending shows the car landing in all its gore. The final cut had a fade to white as the car fell, sparing the audience the graphic imagery.
The classic romantic comedy Pretty Woman ends with Richard Gere’s character riding in his white limousine, symbolizing the knight on a white horse that Julia Roberts’ character dreamed of. The original ending shows how both grew and changed due to their relationship. The original ending, though, is depressing and dark: Gere simply pays Roberts for their time together, as originally agreed upon. They go their separate ways, and nobody learns any lessons. It’s doubtful that the film would have grossed $463 million if they stuck with the sad ending.