Technology geek and entrepreneur Elon Musk and his company SpaceX is seeking approval from the government for a massive satellite network which will provide high-speed, global internet coverage. It was revealed in the newly filed documents with the US FCC. Earlier Elon Musk had referred to the project and said that it would cost at least $10 billion. The project was announced in January 2015.
The California-headquartered company has proposed to create an orbital digital communication grid which will consist of some 4,225 satellites. The documents filed with FCC included technical details of the proposed network but did not reveal the actual cost of the project. The financial backers include Alphabet’s Google Inc and Fidelity Investments, and it has been named Space Exploration Technologies Corp. An investment totaling 1 billion dollars have been made by the investors.
The project will start with the launch of 800 satellites which will seek to expand internet services in the US and will also include Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the FCC filings showed. The project will provide Internet services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and professional users across the globe. The Internet via satellite networks are also being developed by private enterprises such as owned OneWeb and by Boeing Co. The space-based system will provide a viable alternative for cable and fiber optic based broadband services.
SpaceX has not revealed when the launches will start. The satellites will be parked in orbit ranging from 714 miles to 823 miles above the Earth. The satellites will be 386 Kg minus the weight of the solar panels. SpaceX is launching satellites into space for both government and private organizations. It also flies cargo resupply missions to the ISS. However, after a failed launch on September 1, the launches have been on hold pending the result of the enquiry.