Friday, June 17, 2016

balloon powered internet

Noticed a couple balloons popped up on FlightRadar24 yesterday.  Quite an interesting story behind them - way up there above 60,000 ft.  93,104,74,0,B

14 comments:

James Price said...

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

gsc1039 said...

The seeming randomness of this project floors me. I suppose though, if enough balloons are launched, sheer numbers will overcome the lack of regularity in spacing, time aloft, etc., and achieve the desired coverage.

Margery Bills said...

Does Terlingua have a loon yet? How can terlingua get loons there?

J said...

Neat idea.

Larry G said...

the world is changing fast. Kenya in Africa with a population of 45 million and a nominal per capita income of $1400 has an 80% cell phone penetration.

I don't know how they do their cellular - with towers or balloons but I find it remarkable that people who make $1400 a year spend part of it on a cell phone - which in Kenya is how they spend money. they text money to businesses... and they get paid that way also.

but cell towers and balloons do cost money and subscribers would be paying for it...

Does Terlingua have cell service? or when will it?

John Wells said...

There is cell service down in Study Butte and the Ghost Town...and parts of the ranch but not at TFL. I haven't had a cell phone in 9 years.

Kathy said...

I noticed a balloon a couple weeks ago on that app. I hadn't heard anything about them until then. I'm surprised we aren't hearing more about them. It's so interesting. Good to hear you got the GPS antenna.

Ronald Mahan said...

Makes me wonder how hazardous this is to airliners? With hundreds Of very large balloons going up when they are new - and going down when leaks develop. There must be some type warning system - such that airliners can avoid them when on a collision course?

rj said...

Interesting but it seems unlikely to be cost effective. Google is not sharing costs yet. Luckily it's Google bankrolling it; the strategy be a good resource for areas where a natural disaster has taken out conventional services, assuming it could be deployed quickly. The part I could not understand was how a balloon 11 miles up could communicate with a LTE Cell phone since most cell towers only have a 3-5 mile range. Turns out they typically require special antennas on the ground for the users and another for the actual world wide web connectivity.

"Users of the service connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal travels through the balloon network from balloon to balloon, then to a ground-based station connected to an Internet service provider (ISP), then onto the global Internet."

Larry G said...

balloons are also being considered as ways to deliver heavy cargo more cost-effectively than other transport methods.

Blimps could replace aircraft in freight transport


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/30/blimps-aircraft-freight

for instance a blimp could deliver goods to John ... perhaps cheaper than a UPS truck!


Larry G said...

the new airships would well be autonomous - navigate by GPS. Steer around or hold up for bad weather... don't need long landing strips. can go directly to where shipment is destined for without unloading and loading onto other transport.. much lower fuel costs... a shipping container in LA would get lifted by balloon and carried directly to Omaha or Chicago or Terlinguia...

GPS and computer-operated autonomous vehicles are going to change the way we move freight.

could leave Asia with shipping containers and arrive in LA or Omaha in same time-frame as ships unloaded into 18-wheelers ...etc. they could climb or descend to catch the optimal air currents... using far less fuel than ships... zero personnel on board - compared to what ships need... the ports to unload, then 18-wheelers to deliver.

freight rail, ship and barge and 18-wheelers are going to see strong competition from modern balloons...

John Wells said...

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/helium-hokum-why-airships-will-never-be-part-of-our-transportation-infrastructure/

Larry G said...

Mr. Dick is a "skeptic" no question - but he makes a number of statements for which he provides no substantiation - " And in terms of energy cost, large classical airships like the ones that flew in the 1930s are just barely cheaper than the most efficient cargo planes; meanwhile very large "hybrid" airships—using performance numbers published by their proponents, mind you—aren't any cheaper than a 747, let alone as cheap as the old-school airships. And again, in terms of energy, trains, trucks, and cargo ships are a whole lot cheaper." The "proponents" are actually claiming that unmanned GPS-guided transports are going to be cheaper than manned transports.

It's true - fresh salmon have to be put on a jet to get to market but how about things like socks and hockey gloves? When you look at an 18-wheeler moving goods from the LA port to Nebraska or even Chicago - they're not moving perishable goods.. and whether it takes 3 days or 6 days is only one consideration. If it costs more to pay a driver for 3 days that an unmanned airship for 6 days- the calculation gets more complex. The problem with airships is that they do not have the ground infrastructure that trucks and planes have...

Mr. Dick spends most of his time talking about the 1930's... as if helium, computers and GPS are not gamer changers.. right now - we are actually talking about 18-wheelers without drivers... just autonomous - so then the question will be between two autonomous modes - which uses less fuel vs how long it takes to make the trip.

None other than Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily and others are discussing the potential of modern airships...

None other than the Military and the Border Patrol are also contracting real money for airships.

consider airships just a variant of drones... and you have the reality. drones came from raido-controlled model airplanes but the advent of GPS and computers changed everything.

Larry G said...

here's your proof:

"Lockheed Martin has landed its first contract for the hybrid airship it created inside its top secret Skunk Works division. In a deal valued at $480 million, Straightline Aviation (SLA) has signed a letter of intent to purchase 12 of the heavier-than-air airships that measure nearly a football field long. First delivery is scheduled for 2018, with the final airship expected no later than 2021."

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/29/lockheed-has-liftoff-sells-new-airships-in-480m-deal.html

that's almost half a billion dollars of investment...

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lockheed-hybrid-airship-20160330-story.html

now the company might end up going "belly up" - but this is real - not some concept in a research paper.