Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is setting out strategies to launch over 4000 satellites into space to provide global Internet access.
His company, SpaceX, which specializes in space exploration and technology, has applied to the US government to oversee a vast network of 4425 satellites that will blanket the globe with high-speed internet.
Initial plans have been drawn up with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to oversee the creation of blanket digital communications coverage of the USA, with the launching of around 800 satellites.
According to the documents submitted by SpaceX: “The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, government, and professional users worldwide.”
The ultimate aim of the satellites is to provide an alternative to cable, fiber-optic, and other terrestrially-based Internet communications with customers in rural areas of the US that regularly highlight broadband’s shortcomings.
Google and Facebook Also Interested
Musk’s company is not the first to look to space to develop Internet communications. Currently underway are plans by companies such as OneWeb and Boeing to pursue satellite-based Internet as the future for cyberspace.
The satellites aiming to be sent into space by SpaceX are about the size of a small car and weigh approximately 850lbs, and will orbit between around 714 and 823 miles above the Earth. Musk stated early last year that the total cost of the plans would be a minimum of $10bn.
Some of the funding for this has been provided by Google, with $1bn being put forward. Google has been attempting its own version of global Internet access, with high-altitude balloons, known as ‘project loon’. Facebook has also tried its hand, using high-altitude solar powered drones to provide the Internet to more remote parts of the world.
Facebook’s plans for using satellites to extend global Internet coverage went up in smoke in September. The $200m satellite that their Internet.org initiative had leased exploded, along with the SpaceX rocket, Falcon9, hired to send it into orbit.
The disaster has prompted a hiatus on SpaceX rocket launches, and they have not set a date for the launching of their satellites. Here’s hoping they can get it turned around.
We’re getting really tired of Comcast.
Image credit: SpaceX
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