While we’re all still loving the fact Elon Musk and SpaceX have sent a Tesla playing David Bowie on a mission to Mars, it appears the entrepreneur is getting back to business which could profit those of us left down here on Earth.
A launch planned this week has the mission to deliver Paz, an observational satellite heavily financed by the Spanish Ministry of Defence and riding alongside Paz on the recycled Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX have loaded two experimental broadband satellites.
WIRED reports that SpaceX has a space-based internet venture up its sleeve called Starlink.
The first two tester satellites Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b will be the predecessors to thousands of broadband satellites to be launched over the next decade, which could open up the possibility of ‘making high-speed internet accessible anywhere on the globe’.
SpaceX however has not mentioned on the addition of the bonus payloads and has been revealed by documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission to license the company to conduct the mission.
SpaceX reportedly want to place 4,425 of the small spacecraft in low-Earth orbit – between 600-800 above the Earth’s surface – and hope to begin in the next year.
The next step would be to create a larger constellation of over 7,500 satellites placed 200 miles up which could enable them to achieve their goal of making high-speed internet available around the world.
The microsats being launched will help the company prove the basic infrastructure of the spacecraft is sound and it will give SpaceX the chance to test ground-to-space communications. ‘Ground control to Major Tom’ indeed.
The first test flight of Falcon Heavy is targeted for Tuesday, February 6th at 1:30 PM ET from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. When Falcon Heavy lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. For this test flight, Falcon Heavy’s side cores are flight-proven—both previously supported independent Falcon 9 missions in 2016.
As if this doesn’t sound too mad to anyone who doesn’t have a basic gratitude of science and space as it is, the satellites aren’t even planned to stay in a fixed position in relation to Earth – SpaceX will have to always shift them as they float around in orbit above us.
SpaceX documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal show their goal is to have over 40 million customers subscribed to their service by 2025, which is reported to amount to nearly $30 billion in revenue.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has come under pressure for his position on the issue of net neutrality, released a statement in support of SpaceX’s ambitions.
I have asked my colleagues to join me in supporting this application and moving to unleash the power of satellite constellations to provide high-speed internet to rural Americans.
If adopted, it would be the first approval given to an American-based company to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies.
With SpaceX learning new approaches and improving on the affordability of space exploration, the benefits of their incredible efforts in science come down to a simple economic theory: the cheaper you can provide a service, the more you can offer. The more you can offer your service to, the more will subscribe for your service.
But whoever thought Elon Musk wasn’t a savvy businessman already?
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