SpaceX To Launch Thousands Of Internet-Providing Satellites In 2019

Posted: May 9 2017, 1:12am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
SpaceX to Launch Thousands of Internet-Providing Satellites in 2019
Credit: AMNH

The aerospace company will start testing high-speed satellite broadband later this year

SpaceX has detailed ambitious plans to bring high-speed and affordable broadband service to the worldwide consumers with a new satellite system.

According to the report, Elon Musk aims to launch thousands of internet-providing satellites in 2019 through 2024 with initial test to be carried out later this year.

A total of 4,425 satellites will be launched into the orbit around the Earth, at fairly low altitudes ranging from 750 miles to 823 miles. Once fully operational, the system will provide greater internet speed up to 1 gigabit per second to its users, which is around 100 times faster than current broadband.

To operate the system, SpaceX filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a license in November 2016. Now, earlier this week, SpaceX’s Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs, addressed the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

“SpaceX sees substantial demand for high-speed broad band in the United States and worldwide. As the Committee is aware, millions of Americans outside of limited urban areas lack basic, reliable access. Furthermore, even in urban areas, a majority of Americans lacks more than a single fixed broadband provider from which to choose and may seek additional competitive options for high-speed service.” Patricia Cooper, VP of Satellite Government Affairs for SpaceX said.

After sending two prototypes by the end of this year and next year, SpaceX will begin launching the network of satellites in 2019. The launches will continue until they have reached full capacity, which is expected to be by 2024. All the satellites will be carried into the low Earth orbit using the company’s Falcon 9 rockets. The project which would cost at least $10 billion, was first announced in January 2015.

"Later this year, SpaceX will begin the process of testing the satellites themselves, launching one prototype before the end of the year and another during the early months of 2018. Following successful demonstration of the technology, SpaceX intends to begin the operational satellite launch campaign in 2019. The remaining satellites in the constellation will be launched in phases through 2024, when the system will reach full capacity with the Ka-and Ku-band satellites,” said Cooper.

“SpaceX extends to launch the system onboard our Falcon 9 rocket, leveraging significant launch cost savings afforded by the first stage reusability now demonstrated with the vehicle.”

SpaceX scheme also has a potential to clutter up the space around Earth, which could pose danger to future launches. On the other hand, the project could make cheaper internet service more accessible to everyone. It is estimated that the number of Internet users will reach almost 5 billion by 2020 alone. That’s three times more than the number of internet users in 2010.

SpaceX has also proposed an additional constellation of 7,500 satellites operating even closer to Earth. In the future, these satellites would provide additional broadband capacity to the SpaceX system and make it more cost effective and reliable.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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