Balloons also are being tested to lift wireless communications platforms high above areas stricken by disaster. Although balloons aren't the only method for doing so, they have some unique characteristics that might help round out disaster response at the local level.
In a major disaster, ground-based communications systems are most likely knocked out, and in 12 hours or so, generators and backup batteries will grind to a halt. It may be days before organized disaster relief arrives, and so an emergency communications system is needed that local authorities can deploy within 12 hours and continue operating for 72 to 96 hours.
To fill that critical gap, the
But getting the equipment airborne is only the first challenge. Using DACA in real-world emergencies will require multiple coordination points to avoid a range of concerns.
One worry is potential interference with ground-based wireless systems that may still be operating after a disaster, or that are brought back into service following the disruption.
So just how well would a balloon-based communications system work, and could local authorities launch and manage it? To find out,
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