According to The Guardian today, Google is working in secret at a spaceport in New Mexico to build and test solar-powered internet drones in a new initiative codenamed Project SkyBender.
Google is is reportedly renting 15,000 square feet of hangar space from Virgin Galactic. The lynchpin of Project SkyBender appears to be cutting-edge millimeter wave technology, which can transmit gigabits of data every second at speeds up to 40 times faster than modern 4G LTE.
Google is testing the technique with a new solar-powered drone called Centaur and other units made by a division known as Google Titan. Google also has a deal with FCC to test until July.
Google is also paying Virgin Galactic about $1,000 a day and also paying$300,000 to Spaceport America to construct installations with servers, millimeter wave transceivers, and other tech onsite.
SkyBender is technically part of Google Access, a division that houses Project Loon, Google’s air balloon Wi-Fi project aimed at a similar goal of bringing remote parts of the world online. Google did not respond to a request for comment says The Guardian.