Google Loon balloon takes internet to the sky

Google's Loon Project hot air balloon.
Google's Loon Project hot air balloon. Google

GOOGLE wasn't blowing hot air when it boasted it could bring cheap internet to the world.

The global technology giant showed its project had already grown wings when the Google Loon hot air balloon was spotted flying above the Darling Downs at the weekend.

It was spotted by Toowoomba aviation enthusiasts.

Soaring just inside the atmosphere at nearly 70,000 feet, the Google Loon balloon is part of a project investigating an innovative way to deliver cheap internet across the globe.

The one-of-a-kind project uses high altitude balloons equipped with antennas to provide WiFi signals for homes and businesses on the ground.

Floating on stratospheric winds on the edge of space, the balloons fly twice as high as commercial aircraft, avoiding air traffic and extreme weather conditions.

Google claims the balloons are steered remotely from the ground by moving them between layers of stratospheric winds that move in different directions.

Launched in 2011, the project has gained momentum with testing taking place across the globe.

Currently there are more than 300 balloons world-wide as the technology giant looks to further test the scope of its daring project.

Google hopes that by producing a continuously moving ring of balloons using the west-to-east winds in the stratosphere, the company will be able to deliver cheap internet access to the most remote regions of the globe.

While it may be a long way until Toowoomba residents can tap into cheap balloon-powered internet, the city can say it played its part in what could be the next biggest technology breakthrough.

GOOGLE LOON PROJECT

  • Aims to give internet access to the world using high altitude balloons.
  • Balloons equipped with antennas fly at 70,000ft sending WiFi signals to the ground
  • Travels using stratospheric winds above air traffic and extreme weather.
  • Testing currently taking place across the globe with 300 balloons in the air.

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