SpaceX To Begin Testing High-Speed Satellite Broadbands

First Posted: May 08, 2017 05:50 AM EDT

In the year 2015, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that the company intended to build an internet constellation that consisted of several thousand satellites in the low-Earth orbit. It will provide 1 gigabit-per-second broadband data to customers around the globe.

According to Space Flight Insider, SpaceX is planning on beginning on-orbit tests later in 2017. Full launch operations should be well underway by 2019 until 2024.

Patricia Cooper, the company's Vice President of Satellite Government Affairs, shared with the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation their goals of becoming a satellite broadband Internet Service Provider. She emphasized their desire to develop, produce and operate a constellation of around 4,000 satellites.

"These will provide high-speed, low-latency, and affordable broadband to the underserved, and unserved, populations throughout the United States and abroad," she said.

GeekWire noted that Cooper's statement could be the signal that the company is ramping up in the coming months as it meshes with their plans of expansion for their Redmond, Washington, facilities. While the space transport services company is yet to provide employment figures of its Redmond operations, Elon Musk said that the figure could rise up to 1,000. At the moment, the website listed over 60 open positions.

Later this year, SpaceX will see the first launch of a prototype satellite, and it is set to be followed by a second launch by next year before the company officially launches the campaign in 2018. At this point, however, the orbits designed for the satellite constellation are showing low latency for the flow of data, which made it a significant drawback for satellite broadband.

SpaceX is not the only company to venture into putting satellites in low-Earth orbit. OneWeb, a company with backing from Airbus, Virgin Galactic and others, for instance, is also aiming to start launching satellites in the next two years.

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