Private documents obtained under public records laws have revealed that Google is presently testing solar-powered drones at Spaceport America in New Mexico, according to The Guardian.
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The drones are supposedly developed as a top-secret project codenamed SkyBender to provide high-speed internet availability from the air.
Several prototype transceivers have allegedly been built by Google at the facility, and drones are now being deployed to test this technology.
Since support aircraft and drones would need to be housed in a secure facility, Google has temporarily leased a hanger space owned by Virgin Galactic spaceflights and designed by Richard Foster, a 15,000 square feet facility.
To this extent, Google went ahead and installed its own dedicated flight control center close to the center but separate from the terminal.
The Project SkyBender is reliant on millimeter-wave radio transmissions aimed at delivering data from drones at potentially 40 times faster than current 4G technologies – a precursor to next generation 5G wireless internet technology. This project is based on Google’s vision of using self-flying high altitude drones to deliver internet access to remote areas around the world.
“The huge advantage of millimeter wave is access to new spectrum because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded. It’s packed and there’s nowhere else to go,” disclosed Jacques Rudell, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Google constructed two communication installations at the facility last summer, and one of them is a millimeter wave transceiver placed at Spaceport Operations Center close to Spaceport America and the second one at Vertical Launch Area – but Google is not planning on launching any rockets to this end. Several repeater towers were also constructed around the facility to probably test wave reception of the millimeter equipment.
To use the hanger located at the Gateway to Space facility, Google is reportedly paying Virgin Galactic $1,000 per day, with the former insisting that no photographs of the inside building be taken. Analysts think Virgin Galactic might show off its latest SpaceShipTwo at the February later this month, even though flights might have to be scheduled for 2018.