Google, the one of the global tycoon, is coming up with a nascent technology to give a new meaning to “Cloud Computing”. Google is launching Project Loon that aims to bring Internet access to every corner of the globe via high-altitude balloons. Project Loon would provide internet access to the whole world especially in rural and remote areas with a ring of balloons that fly around the globe on the stratospheric winds twice as high as airplanes and the weather, providing internet access to the earth below.
Why Project Loon?
Google estimates there are 5-6 billion people around the world without access to the internet. The majority of people on the planet are completely devoid of connectivity through poverty, a remote locale, a lack of infrastructure and, in some cases, all three. It is specially designed for those rural regions where it is difficult to provide the internet access. Project Loon would become an internet service provider above the clouds. At the altitude of about 20 km, high altitude balloons are placed for aerial wireless network connections. The users of this service would connect to the balloon to balloon and balloon to the ground communications using a special type of internet antenna provided by Loon project, attached to their building for accessing internet service.
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This balloon is filled with helium gas. Talking about Project loon equipment, each unit carries a mini Linux-based computer, toting the all-important Wi-Fi radios, GPS and several sensors recording air temperature, altitude and speed of movement. All of this information is sent to Google’s Command Centre on the ground below where the each balloon can be controlled to a certain degree.
The stratosphere is good solar panels because there are no clouds to block the sun. 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. Each balloon requires 12 tanks of helium, the amount of which can be used to control how quickly the balloon ascends. – Google
Once it has reached the altitude of 20km (65,000ft), it’s will end its ascent. Then, as Google explains: “Signals are transmitted from the balloons to a specialized Internet antenna mounted to the side of a home or workplace that use radio frequency technology.
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To launch a balloon, a team of 6 members will be needed. This team includes a launch commander to lead the team and coordinate with Mission Control, several people to do ground checks on various electronic components, and someone to set the balloon up for launch and inspect the envelope.
Google’s vision for Project Loon procures schooling for those currently without education, brings doctors for people who cannot travel to see one, and provides important weather data to assist farmers, whose harvests are affected by droughts and floods.
Illiteracy, Disease and Famine could be dealt a swift and telling blow with a little Wi-Fi and according to Team Loon, balloons stationed so high above the earth they can only be seen with a telescope, is the most affordable and best way to achieve this.