User uShare Login | Register
Login
Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.


83° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options

RADAR LOCATION

TEMPERATURE LOCATION

Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started.

News

[0] My Saved Articles
Back to all news

Business

Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!

 

Sioux Falls Company's Balloon Sales Soar

September 4, 2014, 10:10 PM by Angela Kennecke

Sioux Falls Company's Balloon Sales Soar
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

A KELOLAND company is instrumental in bringing Internet access to remote areas all around the world.

The balloons for Google's Project Loon are manufactured right here in Sioux Falls. While ballooning may sound "old fashioned," it's about as high-tech as it gets.

Workers in this clean, temperature-controlled room at Raven's Aerostar division are busier than ever. They're turning out balloons at a record pace to fill orders placed by Google. 

"Our phone rang and it was Google.  And they said, 'Hey, we've been trying to get some balloons into the stratosphere and we've been having some trouble.' Ok, we do that," Lon Stroschein, Vice President and General Manger of Raven Aerostar said.

Raven Aerostar first thought they were going to be used as weather balloons.

"It wasn't until three-four months later that we continued to have more and more success that we found out what this was; and that was to connect the world," Stroschein said.

Connecting the world via the Internet is made possible by a Raven Aerostar designed balloon that would stay 70,000 feet in the stratosphere longer than ever thought possible. 

"Normally balloons do that for two to three days before all the helium is vented out. And we've had a balloon last more than 120 days now, which shatters any record that has ever existed before," Stroschein said.

All made from material about the same thickness as a sandwich bag.

"This piece of polyethylene has to endure 30,000 pounds of force when it's pressurized, pulling up and down on it as the same time, while it's negative 90 degrees Celsius," Stroschein said.

Raven's top-secret technology allows the balloon to withstand those challenges, even surprising Google. 

"One of their chief engineers said, 'If we'd known ballooning is harder than rocket science, I don't know if we would have done this. It really is an awesome technology with very simple materials," Stroschein said.

Google has been so pleased with the results it's increased orders by nearly 200 percent.

"Google has it in their core that they want to connect the next billion people and right now the best way they have to do that is on the back of a balloon," Stroschein said.

The success of the Project Loon balloons has the potential to open up many more markets for Raven Aerostar.

"We just think there's a huge future in it, not only for this program, but for other research and communications programs well into the future," Stroschein said.

A future high in the Earth's atmosphere that can make life better on the ground. The balloons are equipped with GPS sensors, so they can be tracked where they come down.  Then they are recycled.

Project Loon Balloons

Previous Story

Next Story


Comments







Sponsored

 


View business

You may also like

Capital One Closing In Sioux Falls

7/23/2015 12:12 PM

Employees were told Thursday that the credit card company will close its Sioux Falls office by the end of the year.

Full Story
Record Sturgis Rally To Bring Big Traffic Challenge

7/21/2015 6:17 PM

If projections are close, the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally during the first week of August could attract a record million people to the Black Hills. ...

Full Story | Watch
New Pizza Chain Coming To Sioux Falls

7/22/2015 4:15 PM

Wisconsin-based chain, Toppers Pizza is going into a strip mall on South Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls. 

Full Story
Gas Prices Jump in SD, Fall Everywhere Else

7/21/2015 11:10 AM

The state average for gasoline in South Dakota is at its high for the year at $2.79 a gallon.  That's the highest average price since last No...

Full Story
Picker's Flea Market Closing, Celebrate Church Expanding

7/24/2015 2:15 PM

Thorson ran several shops in Yankton before opening a store in Sioux Falls. The store will close August 16.

Full Story


Events