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What are High-Altitude Balloons?

High-Altitude Balloons:

The US has planned to transmit the Internet to the people in Cuba via high-altitude balloons when their government has blocked access.

  • There is an ongoing protest in Cuba against long standing restrictions on rights, scarcity of food and medicines, and the government’s poor response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

High Altitude Balloons for Internet:

  • They are commonly known as Loon Balloons as the first High Altitude Balloon for providing internet was used under Project Loon.
  • They are made of the commonplace plastic polyethylene and are the size of a tennis court.
  • They are powered by solar panels and controlled by software on the ground.
  • While up in the air, they act as floating cell towers, transmitting internet signals to ground stations and personal devices.
  • They float 60,000 to 75,000 feet, above the Earth, well above commercial jetliner routes.
  • They last for well over 100 days in the stratosphere before being returned to earth.
  • Each balloon can serve thousands of people. But they had to be replaced every five months or so because of the harsh conditions in the stratosphere. And the balloons can be difficult to control.