Sheep farmer finds downed “Google Loon balloon” in South Africa

Gigaom

When sheep farmer Urbanus Botha found a crashed balloon in the Karoo semi-desert in the north of South Africa, he initially thought it might be a weather balloon. However, according to a report in the Beeld newspaper, its “Google[x]” markings showed it be one of the Project Loon test balloons.

Loon is a scheme that will employ a mesh-networked ring of balloons that will circumnavigate the globe — each balloon is supposed to make about three round-trips before making a controlled landing. The balloons relay 4G connectivity to people below, with the intention being to service those who haven’t yet got fixed or mobile internet infrastructure or whose infrastructure has been damaged by natural disasters.

[company]Google[/company] began tests in South Africa a couple months back and is also testing the balloons in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and California. There have already been a couple of reported crashes –…

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