Techsphere Systems International, a developer of spherical-shaped airships for use in communications, homeland security and other applications, is opening its first production facility.

The 42,000-square foot facility will produce airships designed for low, medium and altitude.

Techsphere plans to open a payload facility in Nevada in 2005.

“This opening demonstrates TSI’s rapid growth and the relevance of our technology to this country’s defense and communications needs,” said Mike Lawson, president of TSI, in a statement. “The facility will bring redevelopment and new employment opportunities to Columbus.”

The ships can be equipped to perform high-level research, superior intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications and secure communications and also offer an alternative to cell towers and satellites, the company said.