These Photos From Google’s Balloon Launch Are Truly Captivating

    June 17, 2013
    Chris Crum
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As you may have heard by now, Google is sending balloons up into the air in an effort to make fast Internet available to everyone in the world. The plan is to have balloons up twice the altitude of where commercial planes fly, all around the Earth. This is the latest “moonshot” project out of Google[x], the experimental branch of the company responsible for such noteworthy projects as Google Glass and self-driving cars.

Google has already launched balloons in New Zealand as part of its initial pilot test, which includes 50 users. Here, you can see some video from the launch.

Google has also made available a series of photos from the launch on the outskirts of Christchurch. Project Loon shared them on Google+, and they’re quite beautifully shot.

Project Loon










Google plans to expand the pilot across other areas that share the same latitude with New Zealand. It seems like the project is going pretty well so far, so we’ll see how far Google can really take this.

More on Project Loon and the technology behind it here.

  • http://www.lyricstaal.com/ Pranjal

    That looks so amazing, what are those solar plates like objects hanging with the balloons?

    • http://www.70plus-feeling50.com millgate

      They are fundamentally solar panels; to provide the power needed for computing and flight control – steering – in the system.

      Not only are these devices ‘send and receive’ platforms in the sky; they are also ‘steerable and height-controllable.

      I assume they can be instructed to move up/down/left and right on the stratospheric winds – and seemingly, they can be instructed to land, at any given site, for maintenance purposes.

      I assume they make these moves by some form of gas-driven capability.

      In effect … they appear to be able to be ‘steered’ to form clusters/strings of ‘balloon platforms’ if they are needed in larger numbers to cope with concentrated ‘traffic’ in a given area.

      However … remember that they are always moving in the same direction – ceaselessly – once they are placed on these ‘jet streams’in the stratospheric winds.

      To make them land … they will have to be ‘moved out’ of the wind stream; and then ‘piloted’ to a pre-determined maintenance site for routine maintenance and repair.

      Logic suggests that, eventually, there will be enough of them in a continuous stream to be able to cope with all predicted demands; so ‘driving’ them in the jet streams will not be a full-time job !!

      No doubt, soon, the whole story will be told !