Telecoms balloon breaks stratosphere flight record
A balloon designed to bring stable telecommunications to remote areas of the planet has broken the record for longest flight time in Earth’s stratosphere, prompting new opportunities to provide a variety of services in the most remote areas of the planet.
The balloon, developed by Loon, spent a total of 312 days hovering in Earth’s stratosphere, as Salvatore Candido, CTO, Loon, explained in a blog post: “We use them primarily for connectivity, but we’re beginning to understand that this is just scratching the surface of the opportunity presented by the stratosphere.
“My Loon colleagues have published a whitepaper discussing the massive opportunity in the stratosphere, which represents a multi-billion dollar market spanning telecommunications, high-resolution earth observation, and weather prediction and modelling.”
Loon has previously used internet balloons to bring connectivity to remote areas of Kenya, covering 50,000 square kilometres of the country.
Candido added: “Longer flight durations add up to a lower cost per flight-hour or, said another way: more opportunity to get many jobs done at a disruptive cost. Longer Loon flights let us reach and persist in places (like over the middle of the Pacific ocean) that are typically hard to remain for extended periods of time. That all adds up to being able to scale our cell towers in the sky to more people and places, and continue toward our mission of connecting people everywhere.”