One of the balloons from Project Loon, which flew over Hervey Bay yesterday.
One of the balloons from Project Loon, which flew over Hervey Bay yesterday. Contributed

If you've seen something odd in our skies, this may be why

HAVE you noticed something unusual in Bundaberg's skies?

Floating over the region recently at an altitude of 19km, the balloon is part of Project Loon, a futuristic concept from the owners of Google to provide "balloon-powered internet" on a global scale.

The balloons are described as floating telephone towers which transmit high speed internet from the edge of space to users on the ground.

The mission is designed to extend internet connectivity to people in rural and remote areas worldwide.

The balloon's passover didn't slip under John Sahlberg's radar, who noticed it on flight tracking website FlightRadar24 travelling over Burrum Heads, Pt Vernon and then Fraser Island.

The innovative project started in 2013 and has been launching balloons across Australia, New Zealand and South America ever since.

The internet balloons are designed and manufactured to survive the harsh conditions in the stratosphere, where winds can blow over 100 kmh while the thin atmosphere offers little protection from UV radiation and temperatures reach as low as -90 degrees.

Made from sheets of polyethylene, each balloon is built to last more than 100 days in the stratosphere before returning to the ground in a controlled descent.

FUN FACTS

  • EACH balloon has a coverage area of 5000km2.
  • Once the balloon lands, recovery teams then collect the equipment for reuse and recycling.
  • By moving with the wind, the balloons can be arranged to provide coverage where it's needed.
  • The project was started in 2013 by the parent company of Google.


KEY FACTOR: Three suburbs targeted in spate of car thefts

Premium Content KEY FACTOR: Three suburbs targeted in spate of car thefts

Bundaberg Police highlight three local suburbs where vehicles were stolen or...

VIDEO: Farms turned white as storms wreak havoc in Eidsvold

Premium Content VIDEO: Farms turned white as storms wreak havoc in Eidsvold

The skies finally opened up delivering decent rainfall and even severe hailstorms...

ON-SITE PHOTOS: RV Lifestyle Village coming to life

Premium Content ON-SITE PHOTOS: RV Lifestyle Village coming to life

See inside one of the village’s display homes and how the resort-style recreational...