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Cellular Service By Balloon To Be Tested

Article Comments  23  

Jan 30, 2006, 2:47 PM   by (staff)

Extend America and Space Data, two American technology companies, are set to trial a high altitude hydrogen balloon that would provide cellular service to rural areas. The trial will take place next week using balloons that Space Data has already launched to create private radio networks for oil companies. If the trial is successful, Extend America hopes to launch a fleet of balloons over North Dakota, to provide cell service to the sparse population, by this summer. The balloons will float freely at a high altitude, transmitting signals while over the state. Once they drift out of range, the cellular components are released and fall back to earth on a parachute, where they can be collected and recycled for another launch.

more info at Associated Press »



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This forum is closed.


Jan 30, 2006, 9:20 PM

Dropping out of the sky?

What then? Balloons get holes in them sometimes...I'd hate to see one of these things fall out of the troposphere.
"Mayday Mayday, I just lost the wing of my Cessna to a baloon of some sort!"

Jan 30, 2006, 8:14 PM

Balloons ... They really can't be that bad ...

The National Weather Service has over 90 stations which each launch 2 balloons per day...about 75,000 per year. And, along with the NWS, other countries have agencies doing the same all over the world! So, this being a problem of falling down and hitting something must be pretty minimal since it has been a world-wide practice for over a hundred years!

So, it can't be that bad since there is a proven record of unmanned balloon "flight" like this.

Read: » »
Yeah, until one lands on your head!

Just kidding.

It's just a very funny-sounding idea... something that you would see in a cartoon, not real life.

Jan 30, 2006, 10:44 PM

Glad Im not the only one thats like what the heck!

This is the by the strangest thing....they are collected and then recycled..........this is absolutley insane!

Jan 30, 2006, 3:17 PM


While the initial low cost aspect of it looks good on paper, after having to launch and relaunch the repeaters, the cost will go back up.
Not mention the frustration of the customer whose phone service is out because their cellular signal repeater is laying on some dirt road 20 miles from nowhere...
All the cell phone companies should work on improving long range repeater technology and not hair-brained schemes from a wil-e-coyote cartoon...
Actually if you would read the article its not a bad idea. 3 Ballons can cover N Dakota by themselves. They would have 9 baloons up at all times to make sure no service was lost. When 3 come down 3 more go back up. So there is No chance of someone los...

Jan 30, 2006, 4:32 PM

New jobs created...

"Cellular Balloon Chaser". Good stuff.
i think the former ND gov actually called them "bounty hunters" in the article.
I've got to rustle up some of them baloons Razz ... I'll just have to get a satelite phone from Globalstar for when service and the baloon drops!!!

Jan 30, 2006, 4:31 PM

Let's get this straight...

They fall back to earth after drifting out of range? And what if a huge Dakota prairie storm blows them out of range in 9 seconds? What then?
muchdrama said:
They fall back to earth after drifting out of range?

Pick it up and stick the antenna on your house. Wink

Jan 30, 2006, 6:27 PM

Try this

why dont they just strap them to the back of cows and pasturize the milk before bessy gives it to us
slauttr said:
why dont they just strap them to the back of cows and pasturize the milk before bessy gives it to us

Damn you slauttr. That was my idea. Mad

Jan 30, 2006, 5:14 PM



Jan 30, 2006, 5:01 PM

Like. . .whoa

So these are completely free floating? No navigation? No propeler at all? I'm really curious to see how this will pan out. These repeaters are the size of a toaster?! And THREE will cover an entire state? This I gotta see. What does this do to roaming? If this thing drifts into another market does it still work?
bones boy

Jan 30, 2006, 3:36 PM

I can hear the recording now...

... "The subscriber you have attempted to reach is currently serviced by an antenna that has drifted into the stratosphere. Please try your call again later. Message NDFA-2." Smile

Jan 30, 2006, 3:28 PM



Jan 30, 2006, 3:14 PM

Is it April Fool's day already?

A series of balloons that will float across the state and then be recycled. Is this a joke?

Jan 30, 2006, 3:13 PM


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