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Google’s Internet Balloons Have Already Traveled 3 Million Kilometers

The balloons now last more than 100 days thanks to refined manufacturing processes.

Google’s Internet Balloons Have Already Traveled 3 Million Kilometers
[Screenshot: via Project Loon]
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Google’s Internet balloons, part of an ambitious experiment called Project Loon to bring web connectivity to remote areas, have cumulatively traveled 3 million kilometers since 2013, the company said Thursday.

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Since announcing the project last July, the search giant’s experimental wing, Google X, has refined the manufacturing process so balloons last 10 times longer–so far, a record of 130 days–in the stratosphere compared with balloons from last year. Furthermore, with automated processes, Google can now launch up to 20 balloons a day. The company is also using computer trajectory simulations to maneuver balloons accurately to their targets.


Google’s made big progress on Project Loon, but it’s not the only company aiming to blanket the world with Internet access. Facebook is also building an army of drones, airplanes, and satellites to bring the web to remote areas lacking Internet infrastructure.

For now, though, take a moment and think about what it means to travel 3 million kilometers:

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“That distance would take you around the earth 75 times, or get you to the moon and back nearly 4 times over,” according to Google.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal

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