Back in June, Google unveiled Project Loon, its ambitious endeavor to give fast Internet access to rural, remote and underserved areas.
Google just put out a new video with some interesting footage, talking more about the project:
In the video, Pam Desrochers, the project’s Balloon Manufacturing Manager, says, “Our goal for these balloon flights is to stay aloft for 100 days or 3 laps around the globe. 100 days is long enough to get a good life out of it, but not so long that we have outmoded technology in the air.”
“The most important part about keeping balloons in the air for a long time is making sure that they are leak-proof,” she says. “That’s a very difficult challenge. The surface area of the balloon is really vast – about 500 square meters – and it provides a lot of opportunities for little pinholes and leaks, which can shorten the life of our flight. Every morning when the sun comes up, our balloon gets warmer, and we stress it all day long with altitude control maneuvers, pumping air in and out, changing our internal pressure, and at night, our balloon gets very, very cold, and it becomes contracted and brittle.”
She goes on to discuss the balloon’s material and fragility, and leak detection practices, as well as the challenges of keeping the balloon afloat.
Check out the pilot test here.
Also, here are some beautiful shots of the project.