Project Loon shows off how it’s launching balloons in Puerto Rico

by: Robert TriggsFebruary 26, 2016

Project Loon

Google’s Project Loon still sounds like a crazy sci-fi invention to me, but the project is very much a working technology, gearing up to bathe Sri Lanka in high-speed internet beamed from the skies this year. Of course, Google has to get its balloons up in the sky before any of this can work, and the team has just detailed how it actually goes about releasing them.

Earlier this month, Google sent one of its auto-launchers, known fondly as Chicken Little, off to Puerto Rico for some trials. The launcher is basically a custom built 55-foot tall crane that is capable of filling up, lifting and then releasing the balloons, which measure the size of a tennis court. Google says that the whole process takes just 30 minutes to inflate and release, once the launcher is assembled and set-up of course.

For a close look, the team has provided a selection of images to show the auto-launcher off in action:

Portable launchers are actually a key part of project, as they allow the Project Loon team to pick launch locations with favourable wind patterns and conditions. Once up in the air, Google uses just eight ground stations and balloon-to-balloon communication to provide a large area with full wireless coverage.

Google has already announced that Project Loon will go live in Sri Lanka first early this year, and deployment is also expected in regions of Latin America, West Africa and Asia later in the year.


    I think is a bad idea. to say you pay off your phone and you want to switch carriers what would you do then.

    • Gihan

      in countries like Sri Lanka you buy the phone separately and can chose carriers later, all need to do is buy the sim card

    • sluflyer06

      The bad idea is buying a phone from a carrier, people still do that?

  • Luka Mlinar

    I still think it’s stupid not using HyperSphere HS-5k but I guess these guys know more than me, that or they’re complete loons.

  • Zmeg2222

    I was considering the Samsung S7 edge but after hearing this will definitely go for another phone. After just being subjected to the unlocking process of AT&T this is a no-brainer. The process in itself is extremely convoluted and annoying, after getting down on your knees and submitting a time-consuming form to them. They take a few days to get back to you with an unlocked number that must be entered properly and in a certain time frame or will not work. I had already paid on absorbent amount for my phone through AT&T which made me even more upset. The unlocking process should be done automatically without any hassles whatsoever. One of the phones that I unlocked never really was done properly and wouldn’t function with a European Sim. Since then I have purchased a $350 unlocked Lg G4 found that works incredibly well and can be used with international Sim cards, I no longer have to pay the exorbitant prices to AT&T for traveling. This whole carrier dominated system that we have is a joke.