Thursday, 25 May 2017 03:08

SpaceX to start beaming internet to Earth from satellites in space in 2019


A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft hangs outside the International Space Station's Cupola module (Photo: NASA)

SpaceX is revolutionising the space industry with its reusable rockets and ambitious plans to colonise Mars.

But it's also going to help internet connectivity here on Earth by launching a fleet of satellites capable of beaming down a web signal to anywhere on the planet.

The company reckons it can start getting the satellite infrastructure in place around the Earth in 2019, with plans for the big switch on tentatively scheduled for 2024.

Plans were originally drawn up in 2015 and now the company is seeking regulatory approval.

SpaceX-rocket-2 SpaceX to start beaming internet to Earth from satellites in space in 2019

"Dramatic reductions in the cost of space launch are all driving an era where large constellations of satellites orbiting close to the Earth can provide the high-speed, low-latency internet service that many consumers have come to expect," said SpaceX’s vice president of satellite government affairs, Patricia Cooper.

"Looking forward, the company [SpaceX] intends to leverage its fifteen years of experience in cost-effectively building and deploying large, complex space systems to support our broadband satellite constellation," she told a US government committee.

SpaceX says the total number of satellites will be 4,425 - more than current number of satellites above Earth right now.

SpaceX-Internet-coverage SpaceX to start beaming internet to Earth from satellites in space in 2019

(Photo: SpaceX/FCC)

Estimates from company boss Elon Musk put the cost of the plan at around £8 billion.

Thankfully, it's got plenty of investment from the likes of Google. The search giant is also working on launching some gigantic balloons to help improve internet access around the world.

Other tech giants are following suit; Facebook is planning on launching a fleet of internet-beaming drones whilst Virgin has teamed up with chip manufacturer Qualcomm to invest in a company called OneWeb that is also exploring satellite-based internet.

Hopefully, all this space investment will mean the final nail in the coffin for a buffering YouTube video.



Source: This article was published on BY JEFF PARSONS


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