Homeland security missions executed in near-Earth environments are often time consuming, labor intensive and possibly dangerous. Aerial robots performing tasks such as bomb detection, search-and-rescue and reconnaissance could be used to conserve resources and minimize risk to personnel. Flying in environments which are heavily populated with obstacles yields many challenges. Little data exists to guide the design of vehicles and sensor suites operating in these environments. This paper explores the challenges encountered implementing several different sensing technologies in near-Earth environments. The results of applying these technologies to control a robotic blimp are presented to direct future work.