Monday January 30, 2006 4:29 pm
Balloon Powered Cellular Service
If you live in the middle of nowhere (North Dakota in this case), and have little to no signal for your cellular service, then Extend America and Space Data Corporation may have the answer to your needs - balloons. Of course we’re not talking the type of balloons that get tied up into colorful little animals at birthday parties, but large, 6 foot diameter balloons that will reach up to 20 miles into the atmosphere as they carry their radio transponders. As the balloons go up, and the atmospheric pressure goes down, the hydrogen-filled balloons will expand to around 30 feet in diameter. As many as nine balloons will be aloft at once with some on their way up as others are descending. Once the balloon leaves the state the radio package will jettison, and via it’s built-in parachute, will float gently to the ground where a radio signal will alert searchers to it’s location. Extend America CEO Ed Schafer admits the idea sounds crazy (why yes it does) but says “...it works in the lab”. Gee, that’s encouraging.
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