According to a post on the blog of Alphabet’s X Moonshot section, Alphabet is shutting down Loon, splitting it up or providing the Internet with floating balloons.
Astro Taylor, who led the X, wrote in the blog, “The road to commercial viability has proved to be much longer and more dangerous than expected.”
Google’s parent company Alphabet launched Loon in June 2013, and Loon “graduated” from Moonshot in 2018 to an independent company in Alphabet. Loon launched the first commercial internet service in Kenya in July, comprising about 35 fleets. Balloons covering an area of about 50,000 square kilometers. Lun, which also provides Internet services in areas affected by natural disasters, deployed balloons in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and in Peru after the 2019 earthquake.
Taylor says Loon is working to put employees in X, Google and Alphabet in other roles. According to Taylor, “a small team from the Loon team will be there to make sure that Loon’s operations are wrapped up smoothly and safely – this includes ending Loon’s pilot service in Kenya,” Taylor said. A spokesman for X said Loon’s service in Kenya would run until March Edge. To support those in Kenya who may be affected by the loss of Loon’s service, Loon is pledging million 10 million to support a nonprofit and business dedicated to “connectivity, internet, entrepreneurship and education” in Kenya.
The alphabet is not the only moonshot that has closed the alphabet. He wounded McKinney, whose goal last year was to use a wind turbine attached to a kite to generate renewable electricity. And Project Fognorn, which researched how to make clean fuel from seawater, which completed its work in 2016.