US Pat. No. 10,305,609

BEAMFORMING CALIBRATION

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method for receiver channel calibration, comprising:generating a plurality of calibration signals corresponding to a plurality of receiver channels, respectively, of a receiver module;
propagating the plurality of calibration signals through at least portions of the plurality of receiver channels, respectively;
comparing at least two signal characteristics of at least two of the propagated plurality of calibration signals;
identifying at least one adjustment in gain, phase, or timing for at least one of the plurality of receiver channels based on a result of the comparing; and
adjusting a data signal received via the at least one of the plurality of receiver channels based on the adjustment.

US Pat. No. 10,173,764

SEALS FOR GORED BALLOON

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method of manufacturing a balloon envelope, the method comprising:providing a first sheet of material for a first gore of the balloon envelope;
arranging lap seal material at least partially on the first sheet of material;
creating a first heat seal between the lap seal material and the first sheet of material;
arranging a second sheet of material for a second gore of the balloon envelope over the first heat seal; and
creating a second heat seal between the lap seal material and the second sheet of material such that the lap seal material is configured to provide additional structural support to the balloon envelope.

US Pat. No. 10,193,761

HYBRID LEO/HAPS CONSTELLATION FOR FIXED BROADBAND

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising:a network controller configured to:
receive information from a plurality of nodes of a network, the plurality of nodes including a first node that is in motion relative to a second node;
generate a data structure representing available nodes and possible links in the network based on the received information, the data structure including link bandwidth information;
determine a topology of the network for a given point in time based on the generated data structure;
receive client data information from one or more client devices from a particular geographic area;
determine that an overall link bandwidth for the particular geographic area is less than a set bandwidth amount based on the link bandwidth information for one or more of the possible links directly connected to the particular geographic area;
determine one or more additional links to connect to the particular geographic area in a given network configuration of the network based on a difference between the overall link bandwidth and the set bandwidth amount; and
send instructions to the plurality of nodes of the network to cause the plurality of nodes to implement the given network configuration and transmit client data at the given point in time.

US Pat. No. 10,561,011

COMBINED HEAT SINK AND PHOTON HARVESTOR

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A heat transfer system comprising:a first component formed of a thermally conductive material, the first component secured and thermally coupled with an electronic device, the first component including first and second layers; and
a second component including a surface adapted to capture stray photons to provide heat to the electronic device, wherein the first component is in superposed relation with the second component.

US Pat. No. 10,305,608

BEAMFORMING CALIBRATION

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method for transmitter channel calibration, comprising:generating a plurality of calibration signals corresponding to a plurality of transmitter channels, respectively, of a transmitter module;
propagating the plurality of calibration signals through at least portions of the plurality of transmitter channels, respectively;
comparing at least two signal characteristics of at least two of the propagated plurality of calibration signals;
identifying at least one adjustment in gain, phase, or timing for at least one of the plurality of transmitter channels based on a result of the comparing; and
adjusting a data signal transmitted via the at least one of the plurality of transmitter channels based on the adjustment.

US Pat. No. 10,253,795

MULTI-LAYER LAMINATE LOAD RING

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A laminated load ring for a balloon assembly comprising:a plurality of ring stacking units stacked one on top of the other, each of the ring stacking units comprising:
a main body having a central opening;
a plurality of arms each extending away from the main body around a circumference of the main body; and
at least one weld line formed on the main body;
wherein the plurality of arms of the plurality of ring stacking units are aligned with one another, and wherein the at least one weld line of each of the plurality of ring stacking units is offset from the at least one weld line of a directly adjacent ring stacking unit in a direction extending around the circumference of the laminated load ring.

US Pat. No. 10,305,742

INTERFACES FOR SERVICE REQUESTS IN A BALLOON NETWORK

Loon LLC, Mountian View,...

1. A non-transitory computer readable medium having stored therein instructions executable by a computing device to cause the computing device to perform functions comprising:displaying a graphical interface that comprises one or more interface features to receive a request for use of bandwidth of a balloon network;
receiving, via the graphical interface, input data corresponding to a bandwidth request for a first location, wherein the bandwidth request comprises an indication of the first location;
receiving an indication corresponding to whether or not the bandwidth request is accepted, wherein acceptance of the bandwidth request is based at least in part on a state of the balloon network; and
displaying, on the graphical interface, the indication corresponding to whether or not the bandwidth request is accepted.

US Pat. No. 10,287,135

GRABBING MECHANISM

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for grabbing an object including a pull stud, the system comprising:a grabbing mechanism including:
a piston chamber having a piston configured to move within the piston chamber when the piston chamber is pressurized;
a collet attached to the piston such that the collet and piston move together when the piston moves, the collet including a groove;
a ball cage including a plurality of balls arranged at least partially within respective ball chambers of the ball cage, the ball cage being arranged at least partially within the collet such that movement of the piston and collet causes the groove to align with the respective ball chambers, wherein the plurality of balls are configured to move into and out of the groove and to lock the pull stud within the grabbing mechanism; and
a plunger body; and
a sensor configured to send a signal indicating a location of the plunger body.

US Pat. No. 10,232,955

PORTABLE BALLOON LAUNCH RIG

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for lifting, inflating, and launching a balloon including a balloon envelope, the system comprising:a support structure including two side supports defining an interior space for lifting and filling a balloon envelope, each side support including two side beams connected by top support beams and bottom support beams, wherein the bottom support beams each include two wheels configured to move the support structure, and the side supports are connected by a lateral support beam;
a pair of cranes arranged on the lateral support beam, each crane of the pair having an arm arranged over the interior space;
a spreader beam attached to the arms of each of crane of the pair by a respective crane cable such that the respective crane cables can raise and lower the spreader beam relative to the support structure, the spreader beam including a lift assembly configured to lift and inflate the balloon envelope within the interior space;
a platform having a pair of lateral support bars, each lateral support bar of the pair being connected to each of the top support beams by a respective support bar cable such that the respective support bar cables can be operated to raise and lower the platform relative to the interior space; and
a door assembly attached to the support structure, the door assembly including first, second, and third hangar doors configured to block wind from a respective direction of each hangar door entering the interior space during lifting and inflating of the balloon envelope.

US Pat. No. 10,173,373

AUTOMATED BALLOON ASSEMBLY MACHINE

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for manufacturing a balloon envelope, the system comprising:a table component that includes a first level and a second level lower than the first level, the first level further including first and second platforms, the first platform providing a work area for sealing respective first and second sheets of material together to form a sealed edge and the second platform providing a work area for sealing the second sheet of material and a third sheet of material together, the first, second, and third sheets of material respectively forming first, second, and third gores of the balloon envelope;
a sealing component, the sealing component configured to move along a length of the first platform and to apply a heat seal to bond the first sheet of material to the second sheet material and form the sealed edge; and
a third platform configured to move in a direction away from the first and second platforms.

US Pat. No. 10,374,695

TEMPOROSPATIAL SOFTWARE-DEFINED NETWORKING FOR NGSO SATELLITE NETWORKS

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising:a network controller configured to:
receive information from a plurality of nodes of a network, the plurality of nodes including a first node that is in motion relative to a second node;
generate a table representing nodes, available storage at each node, and possible links in the network over a period of time based on the received information;
determine a series of topologies of the network over the period of time based on the generated table;
receive client data information from one or more client devices, the client data information including a data amount;
determine a plurality of flows for the determined series of topologies based on at least the data amount and the available storage at each node, each of the plurality of flows comprising one or more requirements for a routing path through the network;
generate a schedule of network configurations for the determined series of topologies based on the determined plurality of flows; and
send instructions to the plurality of nodes of the network for implementing the schedule of network configurations and transmitting client data over the period of time.

US Pat. No. 10,293,913

TERMINATION ASSEMBLY FOR USE WITH BALLOON ENVELOPES

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

12. A termination assembly for use with a balloon envelope comprising:a plate structure configured for a heat seal to the balloon envelope, the plate structure having:
a first portion having a top surface and a bottom surface oriented opposite of the top surface of the plate structure, the bottom surface of the first portion being arranged on and attached to a top surface of a second portion;
the second portion having a bottom surface oriented opposite of the top surface of the second portion, the bottom surface of the second portion being configured for orientation towards an interior of the balloon envelope;
a plurality of tendons; and
attached to the top surface of the first portion and each tendon of the plurality of tendons, a load ring being configured to support a load of lift gas disposed within the balloon envelope, wherein the plate structure is configured to form the heat seal as an airtight seal, and
a circular heat sealer configured to activate the heat seal by pressing and heating the plate structure and the balloon envelope together to create a circular heat seal,
wherein the load ring is positioned internal to the plate structure with respect to the heat seal.

US Pat. No. 10,173,763

BALLOON LAUNCHING APPARATUSES

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for launching a balloon having a balloon envelope, a payload attached to the balloon envelope, and a launching projection arranged below the balloon envelope, the system comprising:a releasable restraint attached to the balloon between an apex and bottom of the balloon envelope, the releasable restraint being arranged to temporarily hold the balloon envelope; and
a payload positioning assembly configured to position the payload during launch of the balloon, the payload positioning assembly including a pair of arms configured to clamp onto the launching projection below the balloon envelope and maintain the position of the payload relative to the balloon while the releasable restraint is temporarily holding the balloon envelope; and
a cable including the launching projection, wherein the launching projection is provided between a plate at a base of the balloon envelope and the payload.

US Pat. No. 10,574,341

CHANNEL RECONFIGURABLE MILLIMETER-WAVE RF SYSTEM

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising:a high altitude platform;
a first radio frequency module connected to the high altitude platform, the first radio frequency module comprising:
a first antenna;
a first channel duplexing device connected to the first antenna;
a first plurality of channel reconfiguration devices connected to the first antenna;
a first transceiver connected to the first antenna, the first transceiver configured to operate the first antenna at millimeter wave frequencies; and
a first controller connected to the first transceiver and configured to transmit and receive data through the first antenna; and
a second radio frequency module connected to the high altitude platform, the second radio frequency module comprising:
a second antenna;
a second channel duplexing device connected to the second antenna;
a second plurality of channel reconfiguration devices connected to the second antenna;
a second transceiver connected to the second antenna, the second transceiver configured to operate the second antenna at millimeter wave frequencies; and
a second controller connected to the second transceiver and configured to transmit and receive data through the second antenna,
wherein the first controller is configured to disable the second radio frequency module based on data received through the first antenna, the received data including a flight condition warning.

US Pat. No. 10,456,990

AUTOMATED BALLOON ASSEMBLY MACHINE

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method for assembling a balloon assembly, the method comprising:providing a first sheet of material, wherein the first sheet of material extends from a second platform of a table component to a third platform of the table component;
positioning a second sheet of material across a first platform, the second platform, and an opening extending between the first and second platforms of the table component so that a first end of the second sheet of material overlies at least a portion of the first sheet of material that overlies the second platform and a second end of the second sheet of material overlies the first platform;
securing a tendon on a portion of the second sheet of material overlying the first platform;
heat sealing the first sheet of material and the second sheet of material together on the second platform;
moving the second end of the second sheet of material from the first platform to the second platform by moving the second end over the tendon; and
moving at least a portion of the first platform to transfer the tendon and the portion of the second sheet of material to the third platform.

US Pat. No. 10,356,742

LOCATION-AWARE CACHING IN AN AERIAL NETWORK

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A computer-implemented method comprising:at an aerial vehicle that is at a location associated with first geographic area in an aerial vehicle network, wherein the aerial vehicle network comprises a plurality of moveable aerial vehicles that provide service to client devices in a plurality of geographic areas, and wherein the aerial vehicle is one of the plurality of moveable aerial vehicles, determining that a location-aware cache of the aerial vehicle should be updated with user-data associated with the first geographic area; and
in response to determining that the location-aware cache should be updated:
sending a location-aware cache-update request;
receiving, as a response to the location-aware cache-update request, user-data that corresponds to the first geographic area; and
storing the user-data that corresponds to the first geographic area in a location-aware cache of the aerial vehicle; and
wherein determining that the location-aware cache of the aerial vehicle should be updated with user-data associated with the first geographic area comprises determining that the aerial vehicle has moved from outside of the first geographic area to a location within the first geographic area.

US Pat. No. 10,568,197

COMBINED HEAT SINK AND PHOTON HARVESTOR

LOON LLC, Mountainview, ...

1. A passive heat transfer system for use with a stratospheric platform, the heat transfer system comprising:a first component formed of a thermally conductive material, the first component having a first surface and a second surface, the first surface of the first component being secured and thermally coupled with an electronic device of a platform configured to operate in the stratosphere; and
a second component adapted to capture stray photons to provide heat to the electronic device, the second component having a first surface and a second surface, the first surface of the second component being arranged to capture the stray photons and the second surface of the second component being secured to the second surface of the first component;
wherein the first component is adapted to passively heat the electronic device from the captured stray photons when an ambient temperature of the platform is below an operating temperature of the electronic device.

US Pat. No. 10,472,040

SEALING DUCTS INTO A BALLOON

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method of manufacturing a duct, the method comprising:providing a portion of material that will form the duct;
folding the portion of material such that an edge of the portion of material meets with a first area of the portion of material;
heat sealing the edge and the first area to one another such that the duct includes an opening that extends between a first open end of the duct and a second open end;
arranging a first substance on a second area of the portion of material, wherein the first substance is configured to keep an interior surface of the duct from being sealed to itself when heat from a heat sealing device is applied to the duct;
heat sealing the second open end of the duct to form a second closed end of the duct;
positioning the duct between a first sheet of material and a second sheet of material;
heat sealing the first sheet of material to the second sheet of material; and
after heat sealing the first sheet of material to the second sheet of material, pulling the second closed end of the duct through the opening in order to invert the duct.

US Pat. No. 10,450,046

SEPARATION APPARATUS FOR SEPARATING A FIRST OBJECT FROM A SECOND OBJECT

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising a separation apparatus for separating a connection between a first object and a second object, the separation apparatus comprising:a first shaft configured to attach to the first object, the first shaft including two openings;
a second shaft configured to attach to the second object, the second shaft including two slots arranged in line with the two openings of the first shaft;
a first pair of arms;
a bracket arranged to secure the pair of arms to the first shaft; and
a bolt arranged through the two openings of the first shaft and the two slots of the second shaft.

US Pat. No. 10,435,132

HANS BELL HOUSING FOR INFLATING AND DEFLATING A BALLOON ENVELOPE

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. An apparatus, comprising:a fixed housing configured to be coupled to a balloon envelope having an interior chamber; and
an impeller housing moveable relative to the fixed housing between a closed position and an open position, the impeller housing including one or more vents disposed along an outer surface of the impeller housing, the one or more vents providing an airflow passageway through the impeller housing between the outer surface and an atmosphere,
wherein, the impeller housing, in the open position, extends out of the fixed housing to position the one or more vents out of the fixed housing and into the interior chamber of the balloon envelope, allowing the one or more vents to provide fluid communication between the interior chamber and the atmosphere via the airflow passageway, and
the impeller housing, in the closed position, moves into the fixed housing to seal the one or more vents inside the fixed housing and obstruct any fluid communication between the interior chamber and the atmosphere via the airflow passageway.

US Pat. No. 10,406,756

TENDON PLACEMENT FOR HIGH-ALTITUDE BALLOONS

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

9. A system comprising:balloon envelope material corresponding to a portion of a gore of a balloon envelope;
a tendon arranged on the balloon envelope material;
tubing arranged over the tendon; and
restraining tape arranged at one or more locations between the tendon and the tubing, the restraining tape being configured to provide stability to the balloon during inflation of the balloon envelope.

US Pat. No. 10,324,161

BALLOON-BASED POSITIONING SYSTEM AND METHOD

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method comprising:determining, by a computing device, a first set of spatial relationships relating to a group of at least three balloons deployed in the stratosphere, wherein determining the first set comprises (i) determining a distance between a balloon in the group and another balloon in the group, and (ii) determining an angle between a first vector and a second vector, wherein the first vector extends from a first balloon in the group towards a second balloon in the group, and wherein the second vector extends from the first balloon towards a third balloon in the group;
determining, by the computing device, a second set of spatial relationships relating to at least a portion of the group and to a reference point;
determining, by the computing device, a position of the reference point relative to the earth;
using the determined first set, the determined second set, and the determined position of the reference point relative to the earth as a basis for determining a position of a target balloon in the group relative to the earth; and
transmitting the determined position of the target balloon relative to the earth,
wherein using the determined first set, the determined second set, and the determined position of the reference point relative to the earth as a basis for determining the position of the target balloon relative to the earth comprises using an optimization function to determine the position of the target balloon relative to the earth.

US Pat. No. 10,305,564

BEAMFORMING CALIBRATION

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method for transmitter channel calibration, comprising:generating a plurality of calibration signals corresponding to a plurality of transmitter channels, respectively;
combining the plurality of calibration signals with a plurality of data signals, respectively, thereby generating a plurality of combined signals;
propagating the plurality of combined signals through at least portions of the plurality of transmitter channels, respectively;
extracting the plurality of calibration signals from the propagated plurality of combined signals, respectively;
comparing at least two signal characteristics of at least two of the extracted plurality of calibration signals;
identifying at least one adjustment in gain, phase, or timing for at least one of the transmitter channels based on a result of the comparing; and
adjusting a data signal transmitted via the at least one of the plurality of transmitter channels based on the adjustment.

US Pat. No. 10,477,418

OPERATION OF SECTORIZED COMMUNICATIONS FROM AEROSPACE PLATFORMS USING REINFORCEMENT LEARNING

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method of operating a communication network that includes a plurality of nodes, a first node of the plurality of nodes being in motion relative to a second node of the plurality of nodes, the method comprising:receiving, by one or more processors, input data related to a state of the communication network and input data related to operation of the communication network for a first time interval;
determining, by the one or more processors, a first policy for the communication network based on the input data, the first policy being a set of features for forming a plurality of communication links in the communication network over the first time interval, the plurality of communication links providing one or more paths through the communication network;
determining, by the one or more processors, a utility value associated with the first policy as a function of a performance metric of the communication network in the first time interval;
determining, by the one or more processors, a second policy for the communication network for a second time interval based at least in part on the utility value associated with the first policy; and
operating, by the one or more processors, the communication network to implement the second policy in the second time interval.

US Pat. No. 10,437,260

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CONTROLLING AERIAL VEHICLES

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

19. A non-transitory computer-readable storage medium storing a program for controlling an aerial vehicle, the program including instructions which, when executed by a processor, cause a computing device to:receive data indicating a location and a first altitude of the aerial vehicle;
receive data indicating a destination of the aerial vehicle;
receive prevailing wind pattern data regarding winds at the location and the first altitude of the aerial vehicle;
determine when the aerial vehicle is within a predetermined distance of the destination;
when it is determined that the aerial vehicle is within the predetermined distance of the destination, determine a first speed at which the aerial vehicle is moving;
determine whether the first speed at which the aerial vehicle is moving is greater than a first threshold;
when it is determined that the first speed at which the aerial vehicle is moving is greater than the first threshold, determine a second altitude for the aerial vehicle to move at a second speed slower than the first speed;
determine a probability that a prevailing wind pattern at the second altitude will cause the aerial vehicle to move at the second speed, wherein the probability is based on a time since data regarding the prevailing wind pattern at the second altitude was last received; and
when it is determined that the probability exceeds a second threshold, cause the aerial vehicle to adjust altitude of the aerial vehicle from the first altitude to a different altitude based on the prevailing wind pattern data and the determined first speed.

US Pat. No. 10,279,884

ENVELOPE FILM SUSPENDERS FOR HIGH-ALTITUDE BALLOONS

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising:a balloon envelope including envelope film;
at least one tendon; and
a suspender having a first end attached to the envelope film, the suspender being configured to stretch such that the first end moves towards an equator of the balloon envelope as the balloon envelope pressurizes in order to control movement of the envelope film both relative to the tendon and towards the equator as the balloon pressurizes.

US Pat. No. 10,230,453

MAINTAINING CONTIGUOUS GROUND COVERAGE WITH HIGH ALTITUDE PLATFORMS

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method, comprising:determining a contiguous ground coverage area served by respective ground-facing communication beams of a plurality of high altitude platforms, wherein the plurality of high altitude platforms includes at least a first high altitude platform and a second high altitude platform, each of the first and second high altitude platforms being a lighter-than-air device, the first high altitude platform having a communication system including a first ground-facing antenna having a fixed beam width, a second ground-facing antenna having a second fixed beam width, and a third ground-facing antenna having a third fixed beam width, and wherein the first fixed beam width is different from the second fixed beam width, the first fixed beam width is different from the third fixed beam width, and the second fixed beam width is different from the second fixed beam width;
determining an increase in a horizontal distance between the first high altitude platform and the second high altitude platform;
based on the increase in the horizontal distance between the first high altitude platform and the second high altitude platform, identifying a gap in the contiguous ground coverage area between the first high altitude platform and the second high altitude platform; and
in response to identifying the gap in the contiguous ground coverage area between the first high altitude platform and the second high altitude platform, causing the communication system to transmit a wider ground-facing communication beam by switching from the first ground-facing antenna to one of the second ground-facing antenna or the third ground-facing antenna in order to cover the identified gap in the contiguous ground coverage area.

US Pat. No. 10,587,340

TEMPOROSPATIAL SOFTWARE-DEFINED NETWORKING FOR NGSO SATELLITE NETWORKS

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising:a network controller configured to:
generate a series of network configurations for a network, the network having a plurality of nodes that includes a first node that is in motion relative to a second node, wherein the series of network configurations includes a first network configuration based on a current topology of the network for a current time, a second network configuration based on a first predicted future topology of the network for a first future time, and a third network configuration based on a second predicted future topology of the network for a second future time, the first network configuration identifying a plurality of first links to be established using the plurality of nodes at the current time, the second network configuration identifying a plurality of second links to be established using the plurality of nodes at the first future time, and the third network configuration identifying a plurality of third links to be established using the plurality of nodes at the second future time, wherein the plurality of first, second and third links are subsets of possible links in the network;
generate a table representing available nodes and possible links in the network based on information received from the plurality of nodes;
determine, based on the generated table, the current topology of the network for the current time, a first predicted future topology of the network for a first time, and a second predicted future topology of the network for a second future time;
receive client data information from one or more client devices;
determine a plurality of flows for each of the topologies based on the client data information, each of the plurality of flows comprising one or more requirements for a routing path through the network;
generate a network configuration for each of the topologies based on the determined plurality of flows; and
send implementation instructions to the plurality of nodes of the network for implementing the network configurations over time, the implementation instructions including instructions to establish the plurality of first links at the current time, form the plurality of second links at the first future time, and form the plurality of third links at the second future time.

US Pat. No. 10,581,523

TEMPOROSPATIAL SOFTWARE-DEFINED NETWORKING FOR NGSO SATELLITE NETWORKS

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising:a network controller configured to:
receive information from a plurality of nodes of a network, the plurality of nodes including a first node that is in motion relative to a second node;
generate a table representing available nodes and possible links in the network based on the received information;
determine a topology of the network for a given point in time based on the generated table;
receive client data information from one or more client devices;
determine a first plurality of flows for the determined topology based on the client data information, each of the plurality of flows comprising one or more requirements for a routing path through the network;
generate a first network configuration for the first determined topology based on the determined first plurality of flows, the network configuration identifying a first subset of the possible links to be established using the plurality of nodes at a first point in time;
determine a second plurality of flows between pairs of nodes in the network based on a second topology of the network for a second point in time, each of the nodes in the pairs of nodes being able to communicate with the one or more client devices outside of the network;
generate a second network configuration for the second determined topology based on the determined second plurality of flows, the network configuration identifying a second subset of the possible links to be established using the plurality of nodes at a second point in time; and
responsive to the received client data information, send instructions to the plurality of nodes of the network for forming the identified first subset of the possible links according to the generated first network configuration and transmitting client data the first point in time and forming the identified second subset of the possible links according to the generated second network configuration and transmitting client data the second point in time.

US Pat. No. 10,558,219

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CONTROLLING AN AERIAL VEHICLE USING LATERAL PROPULSION AND VERTICAL MOVEMENT

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. An aerial vehicle control system for controlling a lighter-than-air aerial vehicle, the control system comprising:a lighter-than-air aerial vehicle including:
an outer envelope;
one or more ballonets received within the outer envelope, the one or more ballonets being configured to control buoyancy of the aerial vehicle;
an altitude controller configured to adjust the buoyancy of the aerial vehicle by modifying a state of the one or more ballonets; and
a lateral propulsion controller configured to control one or more propellers of the aerial vehicle in order to manage at least one of position or movement of the aerial vehicle during flight; and
a computing device remote from the aerial vehicle, the computing device including:
a processor; and
a memory storing instructions that, when executed by the processor, cause the computing device to:
obtain location data corresponding to a location of the aerial vehicle;
obtain wind data;
determine an altitude command and at least one of a latitude command and a longitude command, based on at least one of the location data or the wind data;
cause the altitude controller of the aerial vehicle to implement the altitude command to increase or decrease a mass of the aerial vehicle; and
cause the lateral propulsion controller of the aerial vehicle to implement at least one of the latitude command or the longitude command to propel the aerial vehicle in a selected lateral direction.

US Pat. No. 10,554,499

HYBRID LEO/HAPS CONSTELLATION FOR FIXED BROADBAND

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A computer-implemented method for implementing a network configuration in a network, the method comprising:receiving, by one or more processors, link bandwidth information for possible routing paths in the network to or from nodes in a particular geographic area from one or more nodes of the network;
determining, by the one or more processors, that an overall link bandwidth for the particular geographic area is less than a set bandwidth amount based on the link bandwidth information for the possible routing paths to or from nodes in the particular geographic area;
determining, by the one or more processors, one or more additional links to form in a given network configuration of the network based on a difference between the overall link bandwidth and the set bandwidth amount; and
sending, by the one or more processors, instructions to at least one node of the network to cause the at least one node to implement the given network configuration for transmitting client data to or from the particular geographic area.

US Pat. No. 10,437,259

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CONTROLLING AERIAL VEHICLES

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for controlling an aerial vehicle, the system comprising:an aerial vehicle; and
a computing device including:
a processor; and
a memory storing instructions which, when executed by the processor, cause the computing device to:
receive data indicating a location and an altitude of the aerial vehicle;
receive data indicating a destination of the aerial vehicle;
determine a vector from the location of the aerial vehicle to the destination of the aerial vehicle;
receive prevailing wind pattern data regarding winds at the location and altitude of the aerial vehicle;
plan a path for the aerial vehicle to move along the vector based on the prevailing wind pattern data;
cause the aerial vehicle to adjust the altitude of the aerial vehicle based on the planned path;
determine that the aerial vehicle is not moving along the planned path, wherein the determination that the aerial vehicle is not moving along the planned path includes a determination that the aerial vehicle is moving in a direction that is a predetermined amount different from a direction in the planned path;
in response to the determination that the aerial vehicle is not moving along the planned path, determine a new altitude for the aerial vehicle; and
cause the aerial vehicle to adjust the altitude of the aerial vehicle to the new altitude.

US Pat. No. 10,645,133

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR DELIVERING CONTENT OVER TRANSIENT ACCESS NETWORKS

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. An end user premises device comprising:a memory;
one or more transceivers configured to communicate with one or more stations in a network and a client device; and
one or more processors configured to:
receive a first user request for data from the client device using the one or more transceivers;
receive, from the one or more stations in the network, an availability of one or more routing paths in the network between the end user premises device and a remote server of the data based on a topology of the network;
determine a first point in time for retrieving the data based on the availability of the one or more routing paths in the network, the first point in time being during off-peak hours and before a second point in time that the client device is likely to access the data;
retrieve, at the first point in time, the data from the remote server via the network using the one or more transceivers;
store the data in the memory; and
in response to a second user request, transmit the data to the client device using the one or more transceivers.

US Pat. No. 10,464,443

MANAGING POWER OF AERIAL VEHICLES

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for managing power of an aerial vehicle, the system comprising:an aerial vehicle including:
a power storage module, and
at least one component; and
a computing device communicatively coupled to the aerial vehicle, the computing device including a processor and a memory storing instructions which, when executed by the processor, cause the computing device to:
receive data indicating a state of charge of the power storage module,
receive data indicating a location of the aerial vehicle,
determine a time until sunrise based on the data indicating the location of the aerial vehicle,
receive data indicating a rate of power consumption of the at least one component,
generate, based on the determined time until sunrise and at least one of the state of charge of the power storage module or the rate of power consumption of the at least one component, a power command to switch the at least one component to a power-saving state, and
transmit the power command to the aerial vehicle.

US Pat. No. 10,419,946

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR PLANNING HIGH ALTITUDE PLATFORM-BASED COMMUNICATION NETWORKS

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method for planning a high altitude platform-based communication network, the method comprising:aggregating data from at least one data source, wherein the data includes environmental data comprising wind pattern data according to at least one of geographic location, altitude or time;
determining by one or more processors based on the aggregated data whether communication coverage gaps exist in one or more geographic locations to identify a plurality of network expansion potential scores according to geographic location;
estimating, by the one or more processors according to the wind pattern data, a navigation efficiency for a set of stratospheric balloon high altitude platforms, the navigation efficiency estimate indicating a likelihood of keeping a given balloon on station at a selected geographic service region over a period of time;
evaluating, by the one or more processors, the plurality of network expansion potential scores based on the navigation efficiency to assess potential coverage for an unconnected or under-connected population;
identifying, by the one or more processors based on the potential coverage for the unconnected or under-connected population, one or more geographic regions as regions to be served by the high altitude platform-based communication network; and
generating, by the one or more processors for presentation to one or more users of a display device, a visual output based on the one or more geographic regions as regions to be served by the high altitude platform-based communication network.

US Pat. No. 10,354,535

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR DETERMINING WHEN TO LAUNCH VEHICLES INTO A FLEET OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method comprising:receiving information indicative of a sequence of coverage requirements for a region over a period of time, wherein the region is characterized by a plurality of landmarks and the period of time is divided into a plurality of time intervals, and wherein an individual coverage requirement identifies a desired number of vehicles of a plurality of operating vehicles for given landmarks at a given time interval, wherein vehicles of the plurality of vehicles include a balloon within a data network that is operable to provide data communication via optical or radio-frequency (RF) links;
defining one or more landmarks as a launch site representative of a landmark at which a given vehicle can be added to the plurality of operating vehicles;
determining, by a processor, for at least one respective landmark of the plurality of landmarks, estimated landmarks of the plurality of landmarks that can be reached by one or more vehicles starting from the respective landmark by an end of a respective time interval;
based on the sequence of coverage requirements and the estimated landmarks that can be reached by the one or more vehicles, determining, by the processor, a given launch site and corresponding time interval at which to add the given vehicle to the plurality of operating vehicles to provide data communication according to the sequence of coverage requirements; and
determining a fleet plan for the plurality of time intervals, the fleet plan indicating landmarks of the plurality of landmarks for vehicles of the plurality of operating vehicles to travel to during each of the time intervals.

US Pat. No. 10,355,327

DYNAMIC BATTERY PACK THERMAL MANAGEMENT

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method comprising:determining a range of operating temperatures of a battery, wherein the range of operating temperatures comprises a plurality of benchmark temperatures;
generating a plurality of setpoint profiles, wherein each of the setpoint profiles is associated with one of the plurality of benchmark temperatures; and
generating one or more temperature setpoints for each of the plurality of setpoint profiles, wherein generating each of the one or more temperature setpoints comprises:
comparing an energy required to heat the battery from an initial temperature to a target temperature with an extractable energy gained by heating the battery from an initial operating temperature to the target temperature, wherein each of the initial temperature and the target temperature is one of the range of operating temperatures of the battery.

US Pat. No. 10,322,789

FILLING APPARATUS FOR HIGH-ALTITUDE BALLOONS

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising:a filling apparatus for filling a balloon, the apparatus comprising:
a tube having a first end and a second end; and
a plug member connected to the second end such that the tube extends through at least a portion of the plug member to provide a conduit for gas between the first end and a second end and through the plug, the plug member having a flange portion arranged around the tube, and the plug member further having at least one groove arranged around an external surface of the plug member; and
an o-ring arranged in the at least one groove.

US Pat. No. 10,573,196

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR SIMULATING WIND NOISE MODELS

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method for simulating a flight path of an aerial vehicle, the method comprising:receiving data regarding a starting point of the flight path;
receiving data regarding prevailing wind patterns;
generating a smooth model of wind vectors based on the data regarding prevailing wind patterns;
generating a noise model, the noise model including one or more submodels simulating regional differences in prevailing wind patterns;
determining a wind vector at the starting point;
determining a noise value at the starting point;
applying the noise value to the wind vector at the starting point to generate a noise added wind vector;
determining displacement based on the noise added wind vector over a predetermined time step;
determining a waypoint based on the displacement; and
displaying the flight path on a map,
wherein determining a noise value at the starting point includes:
determining a portion of the noise value contributed by each submodel by mapping the one or more submodels to an unfolded unit cube to determine each submodel's distance in space and time from the starting point, and
determining the noise value by calculating a weighted mean of the portion of the noise value contributed by each submodel.

US Pat. No. 10,689,083

SELECTION BETWEEN EXPLORE MODE AND CONTROL MODE FOR AERIAL VEHICLE

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A distributed system for controlling a fleet of aerial vehicles, the system comprising:a central control system configured to communicate with one or more regional control systems; and
one or more regional control systems configured to communicate with the central control systems and to the fleet of aerial vehicles comprising two or more aerial vehicles,
wherein the fleet of aerial vehicles forms an aerial network,
wherein the central control system and the one or more regional control systems collectively are configured to:
determine flight data for an aerial vehicle in the aerial network,
based at least in part on the flight data, make a selection between a first mode and a second mode, wherein operation in the first mode comprises causing the aerial vehicle to (i) navigate to each of a plurality of altitudes and (ii) collect sensor data at each of the plurality of altitudes, and wherein operation in the second mode comprises causing the aerial vehicle to (i) select at least one altitude based at least in part on the sensor data collected at each of the plurality of altitudes in the first mode and (ii) reposition to the at least one selected altitude, thereby causing the aerial vehicle to travel in a desired direction; and
based on the selection, operate the aerial vehicle according to the first mode or operating the aerial vehicle according to the second mode.

US Pat. No. 10,676,379

ELECTROLYSIS SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR LIFE EXTENSION OF AN APPARATUS SUCH AS A BALLOON

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A balloon, comprising:an envelope containing a lift gas therein;
a container storing ballast liquid therein; and
an electrolyzer configured to receive the ballast liquid from the container, convert the ballast liquid into additional lift gas, provide the additional lift gas to the envelope, and inhibit electrolysis to prevent the lift gas from becoming flammable.

US Pat. No. 10,670,062

MULTI-LAYER LAMINATE LOAD RING

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. An in-process load ring unit for a balloon assembly, the in-process unit comprising:a plurality ring stacking units stacked one on top of the other, wherein each one of the of the plurality of ring stacking units includes a main body having a central opening and an interior edge forming a periphery around the central opening; and
a plurality of gate tabs, each of the plurality of gate tabs extending away from the interior edge of each ring stacking unit, and wherein each of the plurality of gate tabs are spaced apart from a directly adjacent gate tab in a direction extending around a circumference of the in-process unit.

US Pat. No. 10,629,097

DYNAMIC BALLOON NETWORK COVERAGE MAP

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A non-transitory computer readable medium having stored therein instructions executable by a computing device to cause the computing device to perform functions comprising:displaying a graphical interface that provides information related to a balloon network, wherein the balloon network is configured to provide service in a geographic area, wherein each balloon in the balloon network is configured to change position with respect to a ground, and wherein the graphical interface comprises (i) a map showing at least a portion of the geographic area and (ii) a balloon icon representing, within the portion of the geographic area that is shown on the map, a geographical location of a particular balloon in the balloon network;
receiving, via the graphical interface, input data corresponding to a request for additional information about the particular balloon represented by the balloon icon, the input data indicating a future time;
updating, in response to the input data indicating a future time, the geographical location of the particular balloon to an expected location of the particular balloon; and
based at least in part on the received input data, displaying, via the graphical interface, the additional information in association with the balloon icon, including displaying a graphical representation of the expected location of the particular balloon at the future time.

US Pat. No. 10,220,929

FILLING APPARATUS FOR HIGH-ALTITUDE BALLOONS

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A fill port apparatus comprising:a tubular body portion having a passageway extending between a first end of the tubular body portion and a second end of the tubular body portion;
an attachment structure arranged at the first end of the tubular body portion, the attachment structure being configured to attach to a top plate of a balloon envelope of a balloon; and
a plurality of energy directing structures arranged on an interior surface of the tubular body portion and extending into the passageway from the interior surface, each of the plurality of energy directing structures being configured to contact at least one other of the plurality of energy directing structures when the tubular body portion is welded to itself.

US Pat. No. 10,696,371

METHOD FOR SEALING THE APEX OF A BALLOON DIRECTLY TO A RIGID PLATE

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method for constructing a balloon assembly comprising:inserting balloon envelope material of a balloon envelope into a platen opening of a platen, the balloon envelope material having an opening;
positioning a termination feature, including a termination plate of the balloon assembly, over the platen opening and onto the balloon envelope material; and
heat sealing the termination feature to the balloon envelope material.

US Pat. No. 10,615,873

HYBRID RF/OPTICAL COMMUNICATIONS WITH RF SYSTEM THAT PROVIDES CONTINUOUS SERVICE DURING DOWNTIME IN OPTICAL HANDOFF

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A computer-implemented method, comprising:establishing an optical communication link between an optical communication system of a first balloon and an optical communication system of a second balloon;
detecting a rotation of the second balloon about an axis of the second balloon;
determining that of the rotation about the axis of the second balloon is predicted to cause the optical communication link to become unavailable at a given future time during the rotation, wherein the optical communication link is predicted to remain unavailable until the rotation is such that the optical communication link can be re-established between the optical communication system of the first balloon and the optical communication system of the second balloon;
in response to determining that the rotation of the second balloon about the axis of the second balloon is predicted to cause the optical communication link to become unavailable at the given future time during the rotation, establishing a radio frequency (RF) communication link between an RF communication system of the first balloon and an RF communication system of the second balloon before the given future time;
after establishing the RF communication link, detecting that the rotation of the second balloon about the axis is such that the optical communication link between the optical communication system of the first balloon and the optical communication system of the second balloon can be re-established; and
re-establishing the optical communication link based on the determined rotation between the optical communication system of the first balloon and the optical communication system of the second balloon.

US Pat. No. 10,676,170

FLEX CONNECTION SYSTEM

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system comprising:a cable; and
a flex connection on the cable which enables a first object to remain level relative to the ground when a second object is tilted relative to the first object, the flex connection including:
a top portion;
a plurality of discs; and
a bottom portion,
wherein the top portion, the plurality of discs and the bottom portion include a plurality of openings through which the cable is threaded, and
wherein the flex connection is configured such that when the flex connection is flexed an amount of the cable between the top portion ad the bottom portion does not change.

US Pat. No. 10,611,242

MANAGING POWER OF AERIAL VEHICLES

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for managing power of an aerial vehicle, the system comprising:an aerial vehicle including:
a power storage module, and
at least one component;
a computing device communicatively coupled to the aerial vehicle, the computing device including a processor and a memory storing instructions which, when executed by the processor, cause the computing device to:
receive data indicating a state of charge of the power storage module,
receive data indicating a rate of power consumption of the at least one component,
determine an expected amount of power required to provide power to the at least one component for a predetermined amount of time,
generate a power command based on the expected amount of power needed to provide power to the at least one component for the predetermined amount of time and one or both of the state of charge of the power storage module or the rate of power consumption of the at least one component, and
transmit the power command to the aerial vehicle.

US Pat. No. 10,780,648

AUTOMATED BALLOON ASSEMBLY MACHINE

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for manufacturing an envelope, the system comprising:a table component having:
a control unit,
a first platform including a portion and a first receiver;
a second platform
a third platform,
wherein each of the first platform and the second platform are arranged above and at least partially over the third platform,
wherein the portion is configured to move relative to the third platform in order to allow envelope material to move from the first platform to the third platform, and
wherein the control unit is configured to send signals to the first receiver in order to control movement of the portion of the first platform.

US Pat. No. 10,780,969

PROPULSION SYSTEM FOR A BUOYANT AERIAL VEHICLE

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A buoyant aerial vehicle comprising:a balloon configured to store a gas, wherein the balloon is a superpressure balloon having a ballonet therein;
a first controller configured to manage airflow into and out of the ballonet to adjust an altitude of the balloon;
a payload coupled to the balloon; and
a propulsion unit coupled to the payload by a tether, the propulsion unit including:
a fuselage having a a-first end and a second end opposite the first end;
a thrust generating device disposed at one of the first end or the second end and configured to move the propulsion unit relative to the payload along a propulsion flight path, such that movement of the propulsion unit imparts movement of the buoyant aerial vehicle along a vehicle flight path; and
a second controller operatively coupled to the thrust generating device and to the first controller, the second controller being configured to control at least one of a direction and a velocity of the propulsion unit for the propulsion flight path in order to move the buoyant aerial vehicle along the vehicle flight path.

US Pat. No. 10,785,664

PARAMETER SELECTION FOR NETWORK COMMUNICATION LINKS USING REINFORCEMENT LEARNING

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A method of operating a communication network that includes a plurality of nodes, the method comprising:receiving, by one or more processors, input data related to a state of the communication network including locations of the plurality of nodes and trajectories of the plurality of nodes for a first time interval;
determining, by the one or more processors, a first implementation policy for the communication network based on the input data, the first implementation policy being a set of features for forming one or more communication links in the communication network over the first time interval, the one or more communication links including a given communication link between a terrestrial terminal and a high-altitude platform terminal;
operating, by the one or more processors, the communication network to implement the first implementation policy in the first time interval;
determining, by the one or more processors, a utility value associated with the first implementation policy as a function of a performance metric of the communication network in the first time interval;
determining, by the one or more processors, a second implementation policy for the communication network for a second time interval based at least in part on the utility value associated with the first implementation policy; and
operating, by the one or more processors, the communication network to implement the second implementation policy in the second time interval.

US Pat. No. 10,762,727

ESTIMATION OF AERIAL VEHICLE STATE

LOON LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for estimating aerial vehicle status, comprising:an aerial vehicle including a sensor that outputs telemetry data;
a computing device including a processor and a memory; and
a wireless communication link that communicatively couples the aerial vehicle and the computing device,
wherein the memory stores instructions that, when executed by the processor, cause the computing device to:
retrieve the telemetry data from the sensor via the wireless communication link,
detect a failure of the sensor of the aerial vehicle;
determine whether a telemetry alternative is available, including determining whether a sensor of another aerial vehicle is available to provide data similar to that which otherwise would have been provided by the sensor;
in response to determining the telemetry alternative is available, configure the telemetry alternative in response to the failure of the sensor;
execute an estimation algorithm, by an estimation module configured to estimate a status of a parameter and selected from a plurality of estimation modules configured to estimate a state of the aerial vehicle, based at least in part on the telemetry data, and
determine the state of the aerial vehicle based on a result of the estimation algorithm,
wherein the plurality of estimation modules comprises a dependency tree, one or more of the plurality of estimation modules dependent on a prerequisite estimation module.

US Pat. No. 10,751,949

AUTOMATED BALLOON ASSEMBLY MACHINE

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

1. A system for manufacturing a balloon envelope, the system comprising:a table component that includes:
a first level including a first platform and a second platform;
a second level lower than the first level, the second level including a third platform; and
a plurality of arms,
wherein the first platform provides a first work area for sealing a first sheet of material and a second sheet of material together to form a first sealed edge for a first gore of the balloon envelope,
wherein the second platform provides a second work area for sealing the second sheet of material and a third sheet of material together to form a second sealed edge for a second gore of the balloon envelope, and
wherein the plurality of arms are configured to move the third platform relative to the first platform and the second platform.

US Pat. No. 10,734,721

BEAMFORMING CALIBRATION

Loon LLC, Mountain View,...

18. A non-transitory computer-readable medium having instructions stored thereon that, when executed by a processor, cause the processor to implement a method for receiver channel calibration, the method comprising:generating, by the processor, a plurality of calibration signals corresponding to a plurality of receiver channels, respectively;
combining, by the processor, the plurality of calibration signals with a plurality of data signals, respectively, thereby generating a plurality of combined signals,
wherein the plurality of combined signals are propagated through at least a portion of the plurality of receiver channels, respectively, and
wherein the plurality of calibration signals are extracted from the propagated plurality of combined signals, respectively;
comparing, by the processor, at least two signal characteristics of at least two of the extracted plurality of calibration signals;
identifying, by the processor, at least one adjustment in gain, phase, or timing for at least one of the receiver channels based on a result of the comparing; and
adjusting, by the processor, a data signal received via the at least one of the plurality of receiver channels based on the at least one identified adjustment.