SpaceX and Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, is planning to launch 4,425 satellites in space in order to provide low-cost internet service to the world.
SpaceX, the aerospace manufacturer and space transport service company, just made a big announcement to blanket the earth in high-speed internet coverage. The company signed a detailed agreement with U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 4,425 satellites.
SpaceX is planning to bring “high-speed, affordable and reliable broadband service” to residential, commercial and professional users all over the world, “including areas deprived of proper internet access and currently unserved by local network providers” according to a lengthy application filed with the FCC.
SpaceX’s Satellites specifications
Each satellite will be the size of a small car, weighing around 850 pounds. SpaceX is planning to launch these satellites into space on its upcoming Falcon Heavy rockets, with up to 50 satellites per trip.
According to the document filed with FCC, SpaceX will initially launch 800 satellites that would create an orbiting digital communications array to cover the US. The initial target of deploying 800 satellites would require at least 16 launches to complete, and all 4,425 satellites would take around 90 launches.
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Number of satellites currently in Space
There are 1,500 active satellites currently orbiting around earth. SpaceX wants to add 4,425 satellites to this network. That is not an easy and smooth task, however, if anyone can establish a huge global satellite network and bring super-fast internet service to the world, it’s Elon Musk.
According to a rough estimate, around 2,600 satellites, that no longer functional, are floating in space. SpaceX’s planned mission of 4,425 satellites would be larger than everything already out there in space. However, the company is likely to face several challenges in implementing this important initiative.
Similar initiatives by OneWeb, Boeing and Facebook
SpaceX is not alone in this race. Similar projects have been launched by OneWeb and by Boeing.
Facebook’s US$ 2 million satellite, launched under its internet.org initiative, had a similar goal of providing global internet access. The satellite was destroyed in an explosion of the SpaceX launch rocket contracted to put it into space.
SpaceX is the first privately owned space firm that operates a satellite launching business. It is in contacts with NASA for supplying cargo to the International Space Station – the first private company to do so.
SpaceX launch operations on hiatus since Sep. 01 following the rocket’s explosion incident. The company hopes to restart operations next month.
Source: Reuters / FCC –
Featured image: Tim Peake | ESA/NASA | Getty Images