It’s been quite a while since we last discussed Google’s fascinating Project Loon initiative, but an update from the team on Google+ caught the attention of the Web this week.
In order to get the Internet-beaming balloons up into the air, Google has to build an apparatus that can effectively launch the device. The latest autolauncher, affectionately called Chicken Little, was sent to Puerto Rico this month:
“We took a big step towards [our] goal this month by sending one of our autolaunchers, Chicken Little, on a working vacation to sunny Puerto Rico. After initial construction and testing in Wisconsin USA, Chicken Little was packed up and shipped to a new location over 3500 km away, where it was reassembled and used to successfully autolaunch a handful of test balloons.”
According to Google, the autolaunchers are 55 feet tall and are capable of filling, lifting and launching the tennis-court sized balloons into the air in less than thirty minutes. Despite its size, Google considers Chicken Little and other similar launchers to be portable, meaning they can move them to new locations in order to account for wind patterns.
It’s an interesting development for the project, but the best part is that we get to see it in action (at least through a series of photographs). Here are just a few of the best from the album Google published this week: