No one has experienced the Loon team’s commitment to balloon recovery as intensely as team member Nick Kohli, who despite being pretty seasick once manned a small fishing vessel in the choppy swells off of New Zealand’s South Island two days in a row so he could quickly collect any balloons we decided to bring down right off the coast. Since then, our recovery efforts have come a long way. In this edition of the #askaway series, Nick explains a bit more about how balloon recovery works.

Balloon recovery is so important to Project Loon that we have an entire team dedicated to recovering balloons. Before we bring the balloons we forecast how long they’ll last and plan accordingly. As +Mike Trieu  correctly surmised on the Loon Plus page a few months ago, Loon balloons are equipped with a GPS device so our team can track the balloons, know where they land and go and pick them up. 

Making sure we recover our balloons is the right thing to do for the environment, but it’s also vital to the success of our project. Each balloon is its own scientific experiment designed to test various aspects of Loon technology so we can create the best possible system. Recovering the balloons allows us to analyze them in depth and learn as much as possible from each one, which then allows us to rapidly develop our stratospheric balloon technology. 
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53 comments
 
Since both Project Loon and Project Wing seem to be co-located in Australia, do you guys imagine there will ever be any cross-pollination between the two teams? Maybe Wing can be used to rapidly deliver small replacement parts to a downed Loon? 
 
Was that it? Never mind. Getting my projects muddled up 😅 
 
Loon was floating around the state of Queensland here in Australia a few weeks ago. 
 
Pretty cool guys, thanks for the update!
 
They can be followed on flight radar 24 pro flight tracking I've seen them both on the site over my home state Queensland at 62 ooo ft
 
Is Loon receiving some sort of tax dollars from some place?  I ask this because only government money is wasted in such a fashion....  The original and workable idea was to maintain a relative position via wind currents by controlling altitude... 
 
It's really hard to keep helium from permeating through any thin plastic membrane, especially at higher altitudes. I imagine they've got a small reserve tank of the stuff onboard the control module to maintain elevation, but eventually that will run out as well and the balloon will have to come down. At least they have the instrumentation to determine when and where it will land. 
 
Hmmm ... Are envelopes biodegradable? What happens to landed comms modules when you productionize? Last thing we want is waste hitec materials scattered across the planet. 
 
What is the average span life of a baloon?
 
I lives nowhere near a lion team.I think this is Austin
 
If anyone is interested there is a loon over Tasmania at 63 535 ft I just saw it on flight radar 24 while checking out what's flying around in Aussie Sky's
 
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I am really excited about project Loon & keep up to date with it's developments. I was wondering when Loon will finally come to Iran since the internet in Iran is one the most filtered & monitored grids in the world. Now when do you think we can hope for Loon?
Cheers & keep up the good work. 
 
What is the experted launching period in india??????????????????so eager about it!!!!!!!!!!! 
 
I am a professor at a univesrity of technology in central South Africa; our electrical engineering department has recently been contacted by a farmer in the Northern Cape province about a loon ballon that landed (fell) on his farm. Who can we report this to and how should we go about recovering the equipment? Ryk Lues
 
I have photos of it from Sydney Australia on the morning of September 18th 2014 at 8.15 am and 8.20 am. Images taken through my son's 6" Dobsonian telescope. I would upload the photos but I'll try and work it out.
 
+Martin Ferlito I shall keep a look out for it in South Africa in a while ;-) Did you see the launch call sign at all?
 
+Gary Mortimer no I didn't. I managed to post two images in Project Loon Facebook page.
 
+Ryk Lues From South Africa you can call phone +27 800-007-804, or email to loonrecovery@google.com
Regards.  
 
Hi there. I have information about a downed Loon in the Northern Cape, South Africa. I have sent a mail to loonrecovery with more information.
Regards
Josh
 
I reckon that was HBAL 241 which was following HBAL 304 on the 7th of September this year. HBAL 304 coasted out north of Durban. ICAO (700049) no callsign was up on the equator and HBAL 266 over Argentina. Are they any pictures of it Jozua?
 
Was just looking at some flight state and saw one over nt 61000 ft 20klms an hour had to google it to find out what it was intriguing 
 
#Askway  
I am a fan of the Loon project, and a colleague of sorts. I am responsible for all the high altitude weather research balloons at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. My cell phone has been ringing off the hook, and my inbox is full of inquiries about the balloons spotted over central Colorado this weekend. Some are from Law enforcement officials, and I have to respond to them.

TEAM LOONatics- PLEASE post contact information, so that (#1) I can verify that a sighting was indeed a Loon balloon, and (#2) refer authorities that contact ME about these balloons to verify they are your responsibility.

You can harness the media attention to your project by simply putting the ADS-B transponder tracking info (so it can be tracked on FlightAware, or flightradar24, etc..) and launch information on this page. It will help me help you, and allow the authorities to quickly quell the UFO sighting reports, and allow them to get back to more important work. 
Thank you! 
Timothy Lim
 
Some questions that I have for my research. 
How much would it cost a consumer to avail of this service once it has been released? What are the speeds that the service can provide? #AskAway  
Maybe you can send me an email with some answers. I would greatly appreciate that. Thank you very much. 
 
When this project will be in middle east...
Because we are suffering from net company's around here ...thanks

 
+Bahama Bank All the plastic material that the balloon is made up of is fully recyclable. It is brought to a reclaim center and turned back into the resin that the balloon was made from.
 
This may be answered already : What if the balloon falls in restricted area? :D Will it be transmitting data while its flying over restricted area unnoticed ?
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