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SpaceX Plans To Rebuild The Internet In Space, Will Deploy Thousands Of Satellites

First Posted: Nov 26, 2016 03:20 AM EST
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Elon Musk's SpaceX plans to launch 4,425 satellites to provide high-speed Internet coverage for the people on planet Earth. The Union of Concerned Scientists stated that it is about three times the 1,419 satellites that are now in space.

SpaceX filed an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 4,425 satellites on Nov. 15, 2016. The project is approximately around $10 billion. The company plans to launch 800 satellites first to develop the Internet in the U.S. Then, the other satellites would follow.

SpaceX stated in the FCC filing that the system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and professional use worldwide. The satellites will orbit at a height between 1,150 kilometers and 1,275 kilometers and around 2,120 kilometers wide. Each satellite weighs around 850 pounds, just the size of a small car, according to CNBC.

The system could also provide the high bandwidth of up to 1Gbps per user, low latency broadband services for consumers and businesses in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Each satellite will provide aggregate downlink capacity to users ranging from 17 to 23Gbps. This depends on the gain of the user terminal involved.

The 1,600 satellites that would be the first to be deployed will have a total aggregate capacity of 32Tbps. The system will also deliver broadband service at a speed of up to 1Gbps per end user. Its use of low-Earth orbits will permit it to target latencies of estimated to be about 25-35 ms.

The SpaceX satellites are cost-effective from the design and manufacturing of space and ground-based elements to the launch and deployment of the system. They are also easy to use wherein the provisions of an antenna will allow for a low-profile user terminal that is easy to mount and operate on walls or roofs. The satellites could last between five and seven years, according to Science Alert. 

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