У проекта спутникового интернета Starlink, от Elon Musk's SpaceX, there are several serious competitors. The holding company Alphabet, the owner of Google, is working to spread the Internet using balloons and solar-powered UAVs. The Loon holding balloon recently completed its record-breaking continuous flight, setting an absolute world record for airborne flight. The flight time in the stratosphere was 312 days, far exceeding the previous achievement of 223 days.
During the record flight that lasted over10 months, the Loon balloon covered a distance of 217 thousand kilometers (135 thousand miles). The highest achievement is based, according to the representatives of Alphabet, on the use of new design, progressive materials and new technologies in the production and management of balloons. According to the technical director of the Alphabet Loon project, "millions of flight simulations" were conducted before the launch.
Developers will now be able to create aerialballs of various shapes and designs, without any defects, fold them into compact sizes in boxes and deliver them to any point for deployment and launch. The time for unfolding the system and filling the ball with a special mixture is only 45 minutes.
Loon's record-breaking flight began in Puerto Rico,from where he went to Peru, where he distributed the Internet in test mode for three months. In the next phase, the balloon traveled around the world, flying over the South Atlantic, over the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, and landing in Baja, Mexico.
Alphabet specialists throughout the flighttracked Loon and monitored flight parameters. After a short maintenance, the balloon will be ready for repeated launches. The use of cheap balloons such as Loon, showing the wonders of autonomous flight, will reduce the cost of the Internet and increase the mobility of deploying such systems anywhere on earth.