Google Project Loon: Automater system and a new web traffic transmission scheme

Google talked about how the development of the LOON project is being promoted to form a flotilla of giant balloons to provide Internet access to the inhabitants of poor and inaccessible regions.

Project Loon was organized back in 2011 within the walls of the secret division of Google X Lab. The essence of the initiative is that special balloons, being at stratospheric altitudes, will transfer web traffic to ground consumers. Air flows and solar energy serve to control the position of the balls. The entire system uses complex models of trajectory predicting, taking into account a variety of factors.

If earlier the launch of the balloons was manually carried out by the brigade of specially trained technicians, now the Autolauncher installations are used for this. These are special designs of cubic shape about 15 meters high. The system provides protection against wind, simplifies the placement of the necessary equipment and accelerates the launch. So, one ball can go every 15 minutes with a team of four people at a wind speed of up to 24 km/h. Previously, this required 45 minutes and up to 15 specialists, and the wind speed should not exceed 10 km/h.

In addition, Google switched to a new traffic transmission scheme. At first, the balls exchanged data with ground equipment directly, because of which they could move away from the station at a distance of not more than 80 km. Now the signal can be broadcast between the balloons along the chain, so they can be at a distance of up to 800 km from a ground station. True, in this case there is a need to constant the required mutual arrangement of the balls, which is not easy in conditions of high height and low temperatures.

One way or another, the commercial implementation of the LOON system can be started next year. Recall that not all Google initiatives to connect remote regions to the Internet go equally successfully: Solara 50 solar batteries, intended for the same purpose, recently crashed during the tests.


  • Bloomberg

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