Google has chosen two locations to test its secret airborne communications technology, says a report from Business Insider. One location is the New Mexico spaceport facility where space tourism and exploration companies Virgin Galactic and SpaceX have set up shops, and the other is an Indian reservation in Oregon.
Testing at multiple locations
A radio technology involving aircraft at 25,000 feet and many terrestrial stations located at Spaceport America is what Google is currently testing. This information comes from the recently filed documents with the Federal Communications Commission. The state of New Mexico funds the Spaceport America facility that is hoping to become the center of the nascent space tourism industry.
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The documents also state that the authority received a request from Google to test the technology at an Indian reservation in Warm Springs, Oregon and in Pescadero, California. Google submitted the filings this summer before it restructured into Alphabet.
Google has stated that the proposed testing will use 2.5 GHz band frequencies just for communications payload, so as to relay data communications from one fixed ground station to another via an aircraft. It is stated in the application that the aircraft will fly at a maximum altitude 25,000 feet, which is well below the Loon balloons altitude range of 60,000 to 90,000 feet.
Google now aiming for sky
From the filings, it is not clear which project Google or Alphabet wishes to test at Spaceport America and other chosen locations. Whether the aircraft will be manned or not hasn’t been specified as well, but the documents do provide an interesting description of the tests.
Earlier this year, The Guardian discussed details of Project Wing, saying that Google was testing whether cell phones could be used to provide air-traffic control for low-flying drones. This is ruled out now as Google has stated that it is not testing ‘flight-related activities.’
The filings make it clear Google and its parent-company Alphabet are expanding their effort to take to the skies. The company wants its web services to blanket the globe. There are several air and space-based projects on which the company is currently working. These include Project Loon, which makes use of high-altitude balloons to beam the internet down to the Earth. Another is Project Titan, that puts drones to work delivering internet access, and Project Wing that makes use of drones for delivering packages.