Besides proving that reusable rockets are a safe bet and that a Mars journey is possible, SpaceX is also taking the time to help us with our Internet needs. The company has divulged its plans to launch more than 4,000 internet-providing satellites in the next decade, starting with 2019 #todaymagic
Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s vice president of satellite government affairs, participated in a Senate hearing regarding broadband infrastructure to explain its plans on launching a network of broadband satellites into low-Earth orbit. In fact, SpaceX can start testing a prototype satellite this year to see if the device can indeed provide Internet. If it does, another one will be sent next year with a similar mission.
Starting with 2019, SpaceX will send more satellites around our planet until they reach an astounding number of 4,425, operating in 83 planes. The plan is to send them with their own Falcon 8 rockets to save the time and money a partnership with another firm would entail. Once in orbit, the satellites would remain at a low altitude of 1,110 kilometers – 1,325 kilometers. On the ground, they would be monitored from special SpaceX control centers and gateway stations.
If SpaceX completes every phase of the project as they wish, then the whole network would be functional in 2024. That’s a big if though, since the number of satellites required is more than triple the one currently waiting on the edge of Earth (about 1,459 satellites).
However, let’s just assume Elon Musk and his team come through as always and we do get thousands of broadband satellites into space. What would that mean to us? Well, companies wouldn’t need to install Internet cabling and then, fix it on occasions, to keep us satisfied. Presumably, the network would do its job fine, independently of the latest technological advancements, since it could be upgraded to fit all requirements.