Here’s how Google will launch its Project Loon Internet balloons

Google this year plans to deploy an array of communication balloons around the world as part of its ambitious Project Loon initiative, which aims to bring the Internet to remote locations. To prepare for this rollout, Google has designed and is currently testing a balloon launcher which can fill and deploy these balloons in under 30 minutes. To showcase its efforts, the company released a series of photos detailing the progress it is making on its auto-launcher.

Two years in the making, Project Loon’s goal is to provide Internet access to remote locations using balloons that float in the stratosphere. The plan is deploy a sufficient number of floating balloons with Internet support that communicate using networked ground stations. Internet access will be provided in part by telecommunications companies that are allowing Google to use their regional cellular spectrum. With this technology, Google hopes it can fill existing Internet coverage gaps in both rural and remote locations.

Related: India might be the next to adopt Project Loon, Alphabet’s ambitious Internet plan

In a recent post on its Google+ page, the folks behind Project Loon detailed its “auto launch” crane, named “Chicken Little.” The three-sided, 55-foot-tall crane will fill the balloons and then launch them into the stratosphere where the prevailing winds will carry them to their intended locations. Each balloon is as large as a tennis court and takes 30 minutes to fill, lift, and launch. After launch, each balloon rises into the atmosphere, where it will stay for approximately 100 days. In its latest form, the balloons are equipped with solar panels that will improve communications and increase connectivity times.

Google constructed the “Chicken Little” auto launcher in Wisconsin and is now using the unit to send up test balloons in Puerto Rico. The launcher is designed to be portable, allowing Google to disassemble it and move it as needed during deployment. “As Project Loon looks to build a ring of connectivity around the world in 2016, we need to be able to smoothly and reliably set up new launch locations in far-flung places,” said Google on its Google+ page. When testing in Puerto Rico is complete, the structures will be transported to Indonesia, which is expected to be the first Project Loon deployment area.

Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX makes rocketry look easy, sticks yet another Falcon 9 landing

SpaceX is due to perform its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here's how you can watch the proceedings live.
Emerging Tech

In a weighty decision, scientists prepare to redefine the kilogram

Metrologists are meeting at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles to vote on whether to redefine the kilogram as a constant that can be observed in the natural world.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Cars

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.
Emerging Tech

This startup will sequence your entire genome for free — but there’s a catch

Want to get your DNA sequenced but don’t want to shell out the hundred bucks or so to do so? A new startup called Nebula Genomics offers you the opportunity to have it done for free.