With the already announced aim of providing high-speed internet to Earth, Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to start launching satellites into orbit in 2019.
In a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing in November, the company outlined plans to put 4,425 satellites into space. But very little detail was available about the planned timeline in the document.
However, one prototype would be launched before the end of the year and another during the “early months” of 2018 as the company would start testing the satellites themselves later this years, Patricia Cooper, SpaceX’s vice president of satellite government affairs, said on Wednesday. SpaceX will begin its satellite launch campaign in 2019 following that.
“The remaining satellites in the constellation will be launched in phases through 2024,” Cooper said before the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology on Wednesday.
Technology that allows rockets after rockets to take off and deposit their payload into space, has been developed by Musk’s space exploration firm. In order to send a communications satellite into orbit, SpaceX sent one of their reused Falcon 9 rockets back into space in March, for the first time.
his technology cuts costs, something Cooper referred to.
“SpaceX intends to launch the system onboard our Falcon 9 rocket, leveraging significant launch cost savings afforded by the first stage reusability now demonstrated with the vehicle,” the executive said.
83 orbital planes at altitudes ranging from 1,110 KM to 1,325 KM will be the area where the 4,425 satellites will operate in.
While many rural areas are not serviced by traditional internet providers, the U.S. lags behind other developed nations in broadband speed and price competitiveness, SpaceX argues. Ability to deliver high broadband speeds without the need for cables would be provided by the company’s satellites in space as it will act and will provide a “mesh network” in space.
“In the future, these satellites would provide additional broadband capacity to the SpaceX system and further reduce latency where populations are heavily concentrated,” Cooper said.
The time it takes for data to travel between two sources is referred to as latency. It technology and its systems would reduce latency, SpaceX said. In order to for SpaceX to “allocate broadband resources in real time, placing capacity where it is most needed and directing energy away from areas where it might cause interference to other systems, either in space or on the ground”, there will also be some infrastructure required on the ground.
Cooper said that challenges such as digging trenches, laying down fiber and dealing with property rights issues would then be alleviated.
(Adapted from CNBC)