Google tests balloons to beam internet from near space


googleRegardless of how this turns out, at least they nailed the name.

Google is launching about 30 superpressure balloons that will beam Internet access back to the ground.With equal parts brevity and self-deprecation, the effort has been dubbed “Project Loon.”

Taking flight from New Zealand, the balloons will sail around the world on a controlled path. Meanwhile, they will offer 3G-ish Internet access to 50 testers located in New Zealand. Access will for now be intermittent, but Google reportedly hopes to build a fleet of such balloons, offering reliable connections to people in remote areas.

Controlled by computer servers and monitored by a small team of engineers, the balloons will traverse the stratosphere 12 miles above the ground — about double the altitude of commercial aircraft. Each balloon will be aloft for roughly 100 days and offer connectivity to an area about 25 miles in diameter.

The balloons have a diameter of about 50 feet. Dangling below is a battery of electronic equipment, including a flight computer, radio antennas and a solar panel to power everything.


More @ BBC

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