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Project Loon Balloon Comes Crashing Down In South Africa

by Brandon Russell | November 21, 2014November 21, 2014 10:30 pm PST

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Another balloon from Google’s Project Loon fleet has come crashing to the ground. According to a report out of South Africa’s Karoo region, via Motherboard, a sheep farmer named Urbanus Botha came across the giant Internet balloon as it helplessly lay on the ground. Botha, who said he wanted to use the balloon as tarp for painting, actually had no clue what it was, and only figured it out after his daughter realized it belonged to Google.

This is the third documented crash-landing since the Loon program kicked off last year. In the grand scheme of things, a few mishaps are expected. Google says its balloons have traveled over three million kilometers (1.8 million miles) since the very first launch, which is a testament to the project’s capabilities. Of course, Google will no doubt want to eliminate any future cases of crash landings if the project is to become a part of the larger picture.

Google responded to the reports by saying it works with local authorities whenever situations like this arise, and coordinates with air traffic control if ever the search giant needs to recover a balloon.

“We’re currently looking into the situation,” a Google rep told Motherboard.

Despite the setback, Google has plans to launch 20 more Project Loon balloons next month in partnership with Australia’s Telstra. Since the project first took shape, the search giant says the technology to control and keep these balloons in flight has improved significantly. Hopefully that means no more surprise landings occur in the near future.

Motherboard

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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