Google has partnered with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), France’s space agency, as it looks to improve upon its Project Loon technology. The Internet balloons have been in testing for many months now, but even the brightest minds at Google’s X labs need help. CNES said it will contribute research to Project Loon before eventually launching Google’s balloons in the country in the future.
No major details were shared by either company, though it sounds like the two are coming together in an effort to improve Project Loon; CNES has decades of experience working on balloon technology, which will only benefit Google’s cause. The search giant has been testing long-duration balloon launches for a while now, though the technology still isn’t quite perfect—there has been more than one occasion when a Loon balloon has unexpectedly crashed to the ground. By and large, however, the technology has exceeded Google’s expectations.
The aim of Project Loon is to provide undeveloped regions with Internet by way of balloons. These balloons, powered by solar panels, would fly well above commercial airline altitudes while beaming Wi-Fi connections down to folks below. Since testing began, Google said its balloons have traveled more than 3 million kilometers.
Google isn’t the only high-profile company looking for ways to provide folks with constant Internet. Facebook has looked into drone technology, while Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, said he hopes to provide Internet through mini-satellites. The main point being: you should have access to LTE speeds in those hard to reach places. Earlier this month, Google revealed plans to launch 20 more balloons in Australia, highlighting the project’s slow but steady rollout all over the world.