Google wants to test secret airborne technology at New Mexico's 'spaceport' and an Indian reservation
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Google wants to test a radio technology that involves aircraft hovering 25,000 feet in the air and several terrestrial stations located at Spaceport America, a facility funded by the state of New Mexico that hopes to be the center of the nascent space tourism industry, according to recently filed documents with the Federal Communications Commission.Google also requested authority to test the technology at an Indian reservation in Warm Springs, Oregon, and in Pescadero, California, according to the documents. The filings were submitted in the summer, before Google restructured into the Alphabet holding company, which creates independent companies out of various Google groups.
Data communications via an aircraft
Much of the filings are redacted, and they do not specify which project Google or Alphabet plans to test at Spaceport America and the other locations. Nor do they specify whether the aircraft will be manned or unmanned. But Google provides an interesting description of the tests.
The application also states that the aircraft will fly at maximum altitude of 25,000 feet, which is below the 60,000 to 90,000 feet that Loon balloons fly at.A Google project called Titan, which is developing solar-powered drones intended to fly at 65,000 feet, was initially based in Moriarty, New Mexico, but recently announced it is moving its operations to California.
A casino and a spaceportGoogle's application to the FCC lists Frank McLoughlin, an engineering director at Google whose LinkedIn profile says he was previously an aviation engineer at Garmin International, and Paul Husted, a Google hardware engineer who previously developed wireless communications chips at Qualcomm.
Google said in the filings that it expected to conduct the tests from August 31 of this year until February 27, 2016. The application for an experimental license says Google intends to "expeditiously test radios in a way that is likely to contribute to the development, extension, expansion, or utilization of the radio art."
AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON
According to the coordinates on the FCC application, the facilities at which Google will conduct tests with the aircraft in Oregon include a casino and resort located in the Warm Springs Indian reservation and several cell phone towers in the area.
We've reached out to both Spaceport America and to Google for comment and will update this story if we hear more.
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