Though it has only been gone a few weeks, the Navy blimp will once again make its return to the Baltimore skies.

The 178-foot airship, which is owned by the government and primarily used for research, will continue a mission to test aerial mapping sensors for the Army starting Nov. 12. The trek will begin in Beltsville and later continue to the Baltimore region, although a spokesman for the Naval Research Laboratory couldn't say exactly when the blimp could be spotted in the area.

"This is to compare data from the previous mission," said Daniel Parry, the spokesman.

Throughout the expedition, the blimp will be based in Frederick. The trip will conclude Nov. 25, when the airship is brought back to the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in St. Mary's County.

The blimp previously hovered in Baltimore for several weeks starting in late September. It continued its mission despite the government shutdown because of a pre-existing contract between the Army and Navy.

Parry said there are no immediate plans for the airship to return to region following the completion of this trip.

nadavis@baltsun.com