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TECHNOLOGY, DISCOVERY & INNOVATION. UPDATED 4 MINUTES AGO.
You are here: Home / Space / Musk: Satellite-Powered Internet
Elon Musk Wants To Cover the World with Internet from Space
Elon Musk Wants To Cover the World with Internet from Space
By Samuel Gibbs Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
NOVEMBER
17
2016

The Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, is planning to put more than 4,000 satellites in orbit in order to blanket the Earth with internet access.

SpaceX, the privateer space company led by Musk [pictured above], is requesting permission from the US government to operate a massive network of 4,425 satellites -- plus “in-orbit spares” -- to provide high-speed, global internet coverage.

Documents filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday propose an initial launch of 800 satellites to create an orbiting digital communications array to cover the US, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

In the filing, SpaceX said: “The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, government and professional users worldwide.”

Such a system would provide a space-based alternative to cable, fiber-optics and the other terrestrial internet access currently available.

SpaceX is not the first to propose such a system. Similar internet-via-satellite networks are under development by privately owned OneWeb and by Boeing, while a $200m satellite leased by Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, which has a similar goal of providing global internet access, was destroyed in an explosion of the SpaceX launch vehicle contracted to send it into orbit.

Each satellite SpaceX proposes to put into orbit, without its solar panels extended, is the size of an average car, measuring 4m by 1.8 by 1.2m and weighing 386kg. SpaceX has not set a date for the satellite launches, but said that they would orbit in a range between 714 miles and 823 miles above the Earth.

Musk said in January 2015 that the plan would cost at least $10bn.

It gained $1bn in funding from Google for the project. Google has been attempting to perform a similar feat, blanketing the globe in internet access, using high-altitude balloons. Facebook’s other internet initiatives have revolved around the use of high-altitude solar-powered drones.

SpaceX operates a satellite launching business, with contracts with NASA for supplying the International Space Station - the first privateer space firm to do so. But its rocket launches have been on hiatus since 1 September following the Falcon 9 booster explosion.

The company hopes to resume launch operations next month.

© 2017 Guardian Web under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
Read more on: SpaceX, Elon Musk, Satellite, Tesla, FCC
Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Wayne Caswell:
Posted: 2016-12-30 @ 7:50am PT
Could Elon Musk become a modern Cosimo de' Medici, the 15th Century Banker to the Pope?

POSSIBLE IMPACTS of his Internet satellite network ambitions:
* Democratization of Education to emerging nations through distance learning
* Improved global health & wellness through telehealth, leading to dramatic increases in average lifespan, as well as over-population issues that might encourage some sort of genocide
* Lower wages in developed countries as work is outsourced to populations with the cheapest workers, or automated by technology
* Control of public opinion and "fake news" through deep packet inspection and filtering
* Manipulation & control of world financial systems as they move online with systems like BitCoin
* Control of global politics, favoring friendly politicians and nations
* Spark a world war if China, Russia or others view this as a threat and begin destroying each new satellite as they go online

It's one thing for such power to be in the hands of a government that is supposed to serve public interests but still might be manipulated by politicians and special interests. It's quite another for such power to be in the hands of a single individual, or a corporation that is legally bound to serve shareholder investment interests rather than public interests.

Even as a retired IBM technologist and futurist with a historically optimistic view of the future, I worry about the potential negatives of the widening wealth gap and concentration of power as the pace of tech innovation accelerates exponentially and continually, and as capital adds more value than labor.

Zombie:
Posted: 2016-11-23 @ 2:45am PT
Incorrect. Avg Latency will be below 100ms, and he has said should be around 50ms both ways. Thanks come again, do your research next time.

Fred:
Posted: 2016-11-17 @ 2:27pm PT
All these issues will suffer one major issue: LATENCY!

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