Explained: "Satellite" crashing attached to a balloon [Google's Project Loon]

Mick West

Staff member
Project Loon Crash in Brazil.jpg

Something that has recently been presented as evidence of faking the space program, or even of a "Flat Earth" is the occasional discovery of what looks like a crashed satellite, but one that has more gracefully descended to Earth on a balloon. One such example is the video "Satellite crashes in Brazil - attached to a balloon - Nasa lies, research Flat Earth"

The mystery is quite easily solved just by reading the blue and white sheet of paper in a ziploc bag attached to the side of the "satellite" (which actually landed on May 15, 2017)
Source: Youtube: Project Loon: Strange object falls in the rural area of Macaúbas-BA.

It says "CONTACT PROJECT LOON RECOVERY TEAM" and explains what it is, unfortunately only in English.

Project Loon is a quite open project that has never pretended to be satellites in space. It's a network of high altitude balloons designed to bring 4G-LTE internet to remote areas. The balloons are designed to stay in the air for months, or even years, before landing for servicing. The descent of the balloon is controlled to a large degree, as the balloons can be raised or lowered to catch wind currents much like a hot-air-balloon does. The Loon balloons use helium with a system of "ballonets" that can be used to adjust the density.

But while there's a reasonable level of control for navigation, it can't exactly land on a dime, and malfunctions can cause the balloon to simply drift with the wind and land somewhere random. So there are many accounts of these unfamiliar devices landing somewhere and causing brief confusion before being identified.

In September 2015 one crashed near Los Angeles, a few miles from its destination:

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...shes-yard-home-sleepy-Los-Angeles-suburb.html

In April 2016, one crashed in Chile:

Source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/25/loon_balloon_chile/

In February 2016, Sri Lanka

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...et-balloon-crashes-Sri-Lanka-test-flight.html

In January 2017, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Source: http://www.prensa.com/in_english/Investigan-satelite-comunidad-Bocas-Toro_21_4663993563.html

March 2017, Brazil

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...le-internet-beaming-balloon-lands-Amazon.html

There are several more, and there will be more in the future (assuming the project continues).

But the idea that this is some kind of evidence that space based satellites are fake is groundless. There's the obvious fact that satellites have been around for decades, and Loon Balloons have only just started to crash. But the "fake" theory is testable, as the Loon Balloons move rapidly across the sky with the winds whereas most space-based communications satellites are in fixed position over the equator, forcing you to use highly directional antenna (i.e. satellite dishes) to receive their broadcasts. So while you could in theory simulate a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites like the Iridium network, it's impossible to simulate geostationary satellites in an undetectable manner (try moving your satellite dish a few degrees).

Even a simulated Iridium constellation (used by satellite phones) would be relatively easy to discover simply by measuring variations in signal strength. The Loon Balloons drift largely east to west or west to east, whereas the iridium satellites orbit north-south (and then south-north on the other side).
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iridium_Coverage_Animation.gif Credit: SaVi
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