Google has been updating folks on its Project Loon, the scheme to float a fleet of balloons which can bring internet access to remote parts of the world.
And apparently the balloons which have been launched thus far in the testing of Project Loon have now travelled some 3 million kilometres cumulatively – or to the moon and back four times over.
Google says the balloons now last ten times longer while floating through the stratosphere than they did last year, after the design has been refined, with many now making it past 100 days before going kaput (the longest serving balloon managed 130).
And Google is now capable of launching up to 20 balloons per day, with new auto-fill equipment ensuring a Loon can be inflated in less than five minutes.
The big G has also said it has made great progress in terms of being able to pilot the balloons, noting as an example: “One flight came within 1.5km of our target destination over a flight of 9,000 kilometres, purely through predicting and sailing with the stratospheric winds.”
“This is great for getting our balloons to where users need them, and great for getting balloons to our recovery zones at the end of their lifetime to make our recovery team’s job that much easier.”
Also, earlier this week Google announced it was bringing Project Loon to remote parts of Australia, with an agreement inked with Telstra to deploy 20 test balloons over western Queensland, which should provide remote settlements with 4G-like surfing speeds.