Google’s Internet Balloon project is repurposed for US defense

Welcome to Thomas Insights – every day we post the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date with what’s happening in the industry. Sign up here to get the day’s top stories straight to your inbox.

A super-secret Google spin-out has won an $8.7 million government defense contract. The technology was, in fact, so secret that Google dubbed it “Minkowski” to avoid details being made public before the company was ready to unveil it.

But on September 13, “Minkowski” materialized in stealth mode as Aalyria Technologies, Inc.

Founded by national security expert Chris Taylor, who has served as CEO since November 2021, Aalyria’s duty (pronounced “ah-Leer-ee-ah”) is to operate “hyper-fast communications networks , ultra-secure and highly complex that span land, sea, air, near space and deep space.”

Google Internet Balloon Company

Last year, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, shut down its internet balloon company, Loon. As Thomas Insights previously reported, Loon’s ambitious goal was to improve internet access in the offline world by establishing a network of balloons that drifted through the stratosphere.

Aalyria is made up of some of Loon’s former employees. They are working to reuse the technology they had previously developed ー minus the balloons ー for Aalyria’s wireless network operations. Aalyria engineers are turning Loon software into a cloud-based system connecting boats, planes and satellites to high-speed internet.

Aalyria’s Spacetime, Tightbeam

Aalyria’s Spacetime software platform responds in real time to changing network needs. It optimizes network traffic routing, antenna link planning and network traffic routing.

Meanwhile, Aalyria’s Tightbeam is touted as “the world’s most advanced coherent lightless spatial optics technology.” Improving cellular connectivity, satellite communications and Wi-Fi, the technology provides connectivity where the supporting infrastructure does not exist. The spot beam covers even greater distances than previously envisioned and at a faster rate than other available solutions.

In addition to its Loon alumni, Aalyria has hired experienced personnel from NASA, Lockheed Martin, Amazon, Cisco and other major companies. Its advisory board includes former administrators from the Department of Defense and civilian government.

By creating Aalyria, Google retains a stake in what could become lucrative intellectual property while allowing it to seek outside funding. These Silicon Valley investors back the telecommunications company as founders of Housatonic, Accel and J2 Ventures.

Image Credit: spainter_vfx /

More barrels than people: Kentucky’s supply chain supplies 95% of the world’s bourbonNext story »

More trade and industry