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How Google Will Use High-Flying Balloons To Deliver Internet To The Hinterlands

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Project Loon sails through the stratosphere, where there are different wind layers.

Using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the balloons are maneuvered by identifying the wind layer with the desired speed and direction and then adjusting altitude to float in that layer.




The Project Loon team prepared for launch in the pre-dawn frost near Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.

Solar panels and insulated electronics packages, prepared for launch. It takes 4 hours for the solar panels to charge the battery during the day, and that power is sufficient to keep all the flight systems working 24 hours a day.

A fully-inflated balloon envelope at Moffett Field, California. The balloons are 15m in diameter when fully inflated, but they do not inflate until they’ve reached float altitude in the stratosphere.

Project Loon team members Paul Acosta and Peter Capraro placed red balloons near the launch site at sunrise. The balloons were used as a rough indicator of wind direction and speed just above ground level.

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