France’s space agency is assisting Google with Project Loon
Google is most known for Android, the most popular smartphone operating system in the world, as well as its web-based products such as Search, Gmail, and YouTube. But the company has also branched out into more experimental, and often times ludicrous endeavors, such as the aptly-named Project Loon.
The purpose of Project Loon, for those of you who aren’t familiar, is to provide access to the internet in parts of the world that may be difficult for telecommunications companies to install the necessary infrastructure, or just not worth the resources to do so. This done using hot air balloons that wander across the globe and act as floating hotspots.
Project Loon has come a long way since Google X began working on it back in 2011: the balloons can now stay afloat for a few months now and Google is even working to form new partnerships with telecommunications companies across the globe. Nonetheless, the project has a long way to go before it can go from a moonshot to a legitimate service. Fortunately, one of Google’s partners is willing to help it get there.
The Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), France’s national space agency, has revealed that it has been collaborating with Google on the project for about a year now in order to take things to the next level. Not only is the agency helping Google analyze data from the project’s ongoing tests, it’s helping to design the balloons themselves. In return, Google is helping the CNES conduct long-haul balloon flights to the stratosphere.
“No single solution can solve such a big, complex problem. That’s why we’re working with experts from all over the world, such as CNES, to invest in new technologies like Project Loon that can use the winds to provide Internet to rural and remote areas,” said Mike Cassidy, the Google VP in charge of the project, as quoted by Endgaget.