SpaceX has asked the U.S. government for permission to launch an internet network powered by thousands of satellites above the Earth.
According to FCC documents, SpaceX plans to deploy more than 4,000 satellites to create a global, high-speed internet network. That’s three times the 1,419 satellites that are currently in space, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a not-for-profit group made up of scientists across the world. “The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, government and professional users worldwide,” SpaceX said in the FCC filing. SpaceX’s satellites will orbit at altitudes between 1,150 kilometers and 1,275 kilometers, allowing each one to cover a space of around 2,120 kilometers wide. According to the official filing, each satellite will weigh around 850 pounds and be the size of a small car.
Musk estimated the project would take at least five years and cost around $10 billion dollars.
According Elon Musk satellite internet can build a foundation for funding mission to Mars
Launching high-speed internet network could also be a blueprint for more ambitious plans — this is Elon Musk we are talking about here, after all. The SpaceX CEO last year hinted that the project could lay the foundation for an internet service in Mars, the planet he famously looking to colonize. Internet access would be a basic requirement for anyone who wanted to travel to the red planet, particularly given the high-cost of such a trip, and Musk reckons the first flight could happen within the next decade.
One thing that we can be surer of is that SpaceX is looking to start the project gradually beginning with an initial fleet of 800 satellites, assuming that it is successful with its application, which would then be increased over time.
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