More details are leaking about Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s secret quest to build a giant airship.
Bloomberg broke the news last month that Brin was working on a secret blimp project at Moffett Field. Business Insider subsequently reported that Brin’s company was called LTA Research & Exploration and that it has been leasing space from Google parent company Alphabet.
Now anonymous sources tell The Guardian that the ship is being personally funded by Brin at an estimated cost of over $US100 million. The blimp is expected to be massive in both scale and grandeur — something like 200 meters long. That’s not as big as the famously unfortunate Hindenburg, which was 245 meters. But some say it would be among the biggest aircraft flying the skies today, and possibly the biggest.
These sources expect that Brin plans to use it to bring humanitarian food and supplies to the far corners of the world. And they also expect him to use it as luxurious “air yacht” for the billionaire and his family and friends to enjoy, according to the report.
Brin declined common on the original Bloomberg story, nor did he comment on the Guardian story and Alphabet declined comment to Business Insider as well.
Brin is said to be fascinated with air travel. The unit he oversees at Google’s parent company Alphabet is working on all kinds of aircraft, including balloon type crafts. Brin is the executive champion of the unit formerly called Google X, now calling itself simply X.
Earlier this week, the unit gave updates on several of its projects including Project Loon, which delivers internet connectivity to remote regions using balloons. Loon is being used by tens of thousands of people in flood-affected zones in Peru, X says. That’s the first time that balloon-powered internet has been used to connect so many people.
X also has a project called Makani that’s trying to generate electricity from an energy kite. Earlier this month, it had a successful prototype test of the kite, which X says is the largest ever of its kind at 600 kilowatts.
And then there’s Project Wing, the unit’s drone delivery project. Although we’ve reported on this project’s troubles and set-backs, it was also called out as a project to watch by Alphabet CEO Larry Page in his annual letter to shareholders in April.
As we previously reported, Brin is actively involved at X and even has his own desk installed in some of the projects, like Wing. So, when it comes to objects that fly, Brin just can’t seem to get enough.
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