Loon, a project developed by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has recently revealed that one of its internet-beaming balloons has broken a flight record, floating in the stratosphere for 312 days straight.
The idea behind Loon is to launch a fleet of large communications balloons into the stratosphere to bring internet access to underserved areas and disaster zones, with each balloon serving a ground area of about 50 miles in diameter. A few months ago, the project kicked off its first commercial service in Kenya where it’s providing internet access to thousands of people.
To improve its services, Loon has been working on enabling the balloons to stay afloat for as long as possible, continuously breaking its own records. The new high-water mark of 312 days is a sizeable jump from the previous record of 223 days.
The record-breaking balloon set off from Puerto Rico in May 2019 and landed in Mexico more than 10 months later. As part of the journey, the balloon hovered over Peru for a few months, after which it was sent floating eastbound, nearly circumnavigating the globe.
According to the company, the balloon’s collected data is invaluable for improving technology and helping future ‘loons stay afloat even longer.