Loon’s internet-beaming stratospheric balloon has set a new Loon flight duration record since it made the longest balloon flight in the Stratosphere for 312 days straight. Loon already held the record for the longest balloon flight in the Stratosphere after one of their balloons spent 223 days there 2018 – 2019.
It all started in May 2019, when Loon’s HBAL703 balloon took off from Puerto Rico and finally landed in Baja, Mexico, in March 2020. During its journey, this record-setting balloon managed to complete one lap around the world, floating across the South Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and ending up above the South Pacific. According to the company, this new duration record is a very visible indicator that our efforts to make all of our flight systems last longer is working.
Once return to earth, the data recovered from the recovered balloons is invaluable for improving the technology and helping future Loons stay aloft even longer.
Alphabet’s Project Loon seeks to offer internet through a stratosphere-based infrastructure to the most remote areas of the world that don’t otherwise have internet access, such as Kenya. Kenya has already received the first commercial deployment of the tech earlier this year. It is expected that it will also begin to be applied in the Amazon with the collaboration of the Telefónica company.
The company notes that at the time of the announcement of the record, it had almost a hundred stratospheric balloons. These are equipped with an automatic dependent surveillance system ADS-B, which is also installed on all aircraft, so the movements of many of them, with the exception of those located in the ocean away from the coast and inhabited islands, can be monitored in online flight tracking services such as Flightradar24.