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Thank you, +Josh Rogner, for inquiring “How are the balloons made? What material are you using so they last 100's of days in the stratosphere?” Pam, one of Loon’s balloon manufacturing experts, offers some answers by describing both the challenge of making balloon envelopes that last 100 days, and also the diagnostic tests the team uses to get closer to that goal.
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28 comments
 
Anyone else thought that a "Loon" or two in the Philippines would be a great use for the emerging tech?  Plus pretty awesome PR?  Is that a possibilty - even if they had to be tethered to broadcast in high winds? 
 
Can we view the cameras of the balloons? do you have some sort of live cam where we can see he earth?
 
+Carlos Andonaegui
We use cameras on some of our test flights to observe how various components of the balloon are functioning, but our production balloons will not be equipped with downward-facing cameras. The footage to you see of the Earth, like in the above video, was captured on one of our very early flights, but these days all of our cameras are pointed balloonward, at Loon components, and the Earth view isn't nearly as grand.
 
+Jesse Clark
The situation in the Philippines is a grim reminder of how important a resilient communications network is in the wake of a natural disaster, and we agree with you that responding to this sort of situation would be one of the best potential uses for Loon. Unfortunately the technology is not quite there yet, and the balloons are so big that tethering them is literally impossible - the balloon would rip itself apart in the wind. I can't wait to be able to tell you that Loon is ready to aid in disaster response, but we're not there quite yet.
 
This project is really great! Do the ballons will have gps antennas for the aircrafts can see them when you're replacing them?. The idea of pointing the cameras to earth will be an excellent tool for meteorology.
 
How fast do the balloons go? / For how long are they connected to an "antenna"
I have calculated(from the 100 days and 3 times around bottom earth) that they go around 1200 km/day or 50 km/h. Is that right?
 
+Daniel Petersen Our balloons move with the surrounding winds, and wind speed and direction varies depending  on altitude as well as latitude and time of year. For the 30 to 40S band where we did our pilot the average winds at float altitude vary between around 18 km/h in the Winter to 70 km/h in the Summer.

(I'm in charge of the Mission Control software for Loon, so one of the things I think about is how to simulate where our balloons will go in the coming weeks or months, and what altitudes to fly at to maintain good coverage.)
 
+Samarth Madduru
The balloons are made of polyethylene plastic, which is the most common type of plastic, found in many everyday goods, from grocery bags to bottles. It's too soon to give you a figure for how much the balloons cost, because we're still rapidly evolving the design.
 
+Project Loon - Do you plan to only set balloons out on the lower part of earth(to the poor countries) or the whole planet?
 
+Daniel Petersen
Our vision for Loon is "Balloon-powered Internet for everyone." We plan to make the service available to everyone.
 
no quiero ser aguafiestas pero ¿que va a pasar con la "tecnología" en la que vamos a usar el Internet?  
 
Si va han ha ser los lentes (la tecnología) ¿por que dicen que los van ha vender si se supone quieren que todos tengan el acceso gratis?
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it is good for poor country like india.
 
i have internet of very slow speed about 100kb/s. it is limited usage and very costlier.
 
+Project Loon I'm a planning consultant at the Ministry of ICT in Colombia (South America). I wrote a mail to the Google Policy Counsel for the Andean Region two months ago, to schedule a meeting and requesting detailed information about #ProjectLoon. However nobody has contacted us. Please, contact me, we are interested in this project. I will answer from my official e-mail account.
 
the great project from Google for world 
 
100 days,  3 times around the world in 30 days .... Nice all
 
I've recently developed a new aerospace material and manufacturing method, specifically aimed for airships and balloons, that will retain Helium over 100 times longer than this.  I'd like to get in touch with the Project Loon team to show them how I can help them succeed.
 
I'm not an expert, but could you integrate a service robot inside the ballon with some "plastic-adhesive paste" (no idea how that would look like) to fix little cuts while the balloon is in air
 
What about graphene as a material to make it secure? A tad expensive and probably needs more research but it is the strongest, thinnest and flexible. The fact that it lead electricity could work for its advantage to harvest solar energy as well. 
 
Wonder if this technology could also benefit tire quality, and perhaps other products.
 
#askaway  - Approximately how many balloons will be required across the globe to connect each and every one on earth with balloon powered internet?
 What will be the total cost of this project?

Also i want to know that why would people go for this technology even though the satellite powered internet is already present?
 
This would be a lot cheaper and more maintainable than satellites. You can't easily bring down a satellite to upgrade its tech or fix problems.
 
+Project Loon Is it a super pressure balloon?because she talked about pumping in and out ,changing pressure and altitude control maneuvres and I am a bit confused (superpressured are ballooons with constant volume) , can you explain more ? :)
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