Loon’s journey is coming to an finish. Thanks to everybody who believed in us and our mission of connecting folks all over the place.
I first found Loon by way of a photographer I comply with who posted a snap of a balloon floating by way of the New Zealand skies. The picture impressed a way of surprise, awe — and risk. I’d by no means seen something like that in my 30+ years working within the telecom trade. The extra I discovered, the extra I needed to be a part of the mission. This sense of pleasure and risk has stayed with me during the last 4 years as I had the privilege to guide Loon in our mission to develop connectivity all over the world.
We discuss so much about connecting the subsequent billion customers, however the actuality is Loon has been chasing the toughest drawback of all in connectivity — the final billion customers: The communities in areas too troublesome or distant to achieve, or the areas the place delivering service with current applied sciences is simply too costly for on a regular basis folks. Whereas we’ve discovered various prepared companions alongside the way in which, we haven’t discovered a technique to get the prices low sufficient to construct a long-term, sustainable enterprise. Creating radical new know-how is inherently dangerous, however that doesn’t make breaking this information any simpler. At this time, I’m unhappy to share that Loon shall be winding down.
I couldn’t be prouder of the Loon crew and their achievements. Loon’s journey has been a collection of “firsts” as we’ve tackled and solved a mess of issues we couldn’t have even imagined we’d face when Loon began. Working side-by-side with governments and world aviation and communications regulators to showcase and allow these new applied sciences, we discovered methods to soundly fly a lighter-than-air car for a whole lot of days within the stratosphere to anyplace on the planet. We constructed a system for shortly and reliably launching a car dimension of a tennis courtroom, and we constructed a world provide chain for a completely new know-how and enterprise. We additionally scaled up our communications tools from know-how that might have been made in a university dorm room (actually: WiFi routers inside styrofoam beer coolers), to a communications system able to delivering cell web protection over an 11,000 sq. kilometer space — 200x that of a mean cell tower.
The Loon crew is proud to have catalyzed an ecosystem of organizations engaged on offering connectivity from the stratosphere. The world wants a layered method to connectivity — terrestrial, stratospheric, and space-based — as a result of every layer is suited to totally different elements of the issue. On this space, Loon has made various essential technical contributions. This contains creating communications payloads that may join from the stratosphere to many varieties of units on the bottom — from cell phones to crusing ships to good sprinklers — probably paving the way in which for extra choices in unlocking the complete potential of the Web of Issues. Loon additionally pioneered software program that manages constellations of connectivity automobiles, guaranteeing they will present the suitable service to the suitable space on the proper time.
Simply as Loon’s know-how is constructed on pioneering work executed by others in fields from aviation to meteorology to synthetic intelligence, we hope that a few of Loon’s know-how will reside on to assist the subsequent technology of innovators. Loon’s recently-announced deep reinforcement studying navigation system has consultants eager about purposes that embody monitoring Earth’s important indicators and even exploration of different planets.
A last thanks
Thanks to everybody who joined us on this journey — particularly to our many companions, regulators and governments who made this work attainable. We’re extremely grateful to you for believing in Loon and our mission of connecting folks all over the place, and for taking an opportunity on us to construct one thing the world has by no means seen earlier than.
Lastly, I wish to say an enormous private thank-you to the superb and great Loon crew I’ve had the privilege to work beside. None of this is able to have been attainable with out the folks behind the mission. From launch to touchdown, hardware to software program and all the things in between, the Loon crew introduced collectively a world-class group of planners, builders, tinkerers, thinkers, innovators and doers. We even developed our personal consultants in fully new or fledgling fields, like balloon navigation, stratospheric flight, and balloon launching and restoration. The arc of innovation is lengthy and unpredictable. Whereas this isn’t the result I envisioned for Loon once I joined 4 years in the past, I proceed to be immensely pleased with the accomplishments of your entire Loon crew and hope that our efforts will reside on in ways in which we are able to’t but think about.
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