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Google has developed stratospheric loon balloons. Was China watching?

Google has developed stratospheric loon balloons. Was China watching?

#Google #developed #stratospheric #loon #balloons #China #watching Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

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Alphabet pulled the plug on Loon in early 2021. It was a business decision, not a reflection on technology — essentially, its mission became moot when outlying areas managed to connect without receiving signals from Phileas Fogg’s mutant descendants. Still, the Loon team, which works with a company called Raven Aerostar (Raven’s Aerostar division was recently sold) – which had spent decades in balloon technology – can boast of taking balloon technology to new heights. “We’ve made significant advances in technology,” says Cassidy. This point has been overlooked by many pundits commenting on the Chinese spy ship. “Everyone you talk to after the Chinese spy story says you can’t fly a balloon halfway around the world and put it where you want,” said Russ Van Der Werff, Aerostar’s vice president of Stratospheric Solutions. “We do that every week.”

That led me to wonder if X’s advances could have informed, if not directly assisted, the technology Wu and his team allegedly used to send that balloon on its controversial and ultimately doomed journey across the United States? The US is clearly motivated to slow down the progress of the People’s Republic of China’s space surveillance program. To that end, Joe Biden has just targeted six Chinese companies suspected of contributing to it. But maybe they got some of their best ideas for free from US companies.

Let me be clear: there is no evidence that advances in balloon technology made by Alphabet helped Chinese spy efforts. Unsurprisingly, nobody at Alphabet or Aerostar wants to get close to this question. But if the PRC had been paying attention over the past decade, they could have learned all sorts of successful conceptual approaches – and even some great details – from X Division’s detailed explanations of how they create, control and manage their balloon fleet. Given China’s penchant for policing Western technology, it’s almost inconceivable that Wu and his team didn’t pursue the Loon Project. And if Wu is right about the data from China’s breakthroughs, they all came after Loon and Aerostar solved many problems for so-called “high-altitude platform stations.”

“A decade ago, it wasn’t even a pipe dream to have balloons that could last hundreds of days in the harshest part of the stratosphere, change altitude and stay on station for months,” says Lon Stroschein, a former Raven Aerostar executive at the of the Loon partnership have worked. “Now we have them, and we were decades ahead of everything else. But if the Chinese have more technology than we anticipated and they can survive in the stratosphere and change altitudes, we’re in trouble.”

As it turns out, recent reports suggest the Chinese airship destroyed by a Sidewinder missile was a “broken dart” — a balloon that floated free of mission control and took off on its own after hitting Guam and Hawaii had spied on. This would indicate that China has a lot of work to do. A potentially invaluable resource could be the Loon Library, a 432-page archive of technical material Alphabet released when Loon went offline in 2021. This is part of the Loon Collection, which includes flight data from nearly 2,100 flights and a 134-slide technical overview. Shared in the feel-good spirit of open sourcing, the collection is full of detailed documents and technical information. It’s great for everyone that Alphabet shares their insights after abandoning a project. But each includes people on all sides of global rivalries.

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