SpaceX looks to use its space flight abilities to bring fast internet to the world by launching a satellite system that gives everyone access to faster speeds.
Uber and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk put in the application on Tuesday in hopes of starting off the project. With all the details laid out in the application, it will be up to the FCC to give the greenlight for SpaceX. The application doesn’t give a specific date for the satellite system, but it does have a launch window of 2019.
The satellite system works in by launching over 4,400 satellites at low altitudes of 715 to 823 miles for strong coverage of Earth as well as cutting down latency. This means data would travel much faster between Earth and SpaceX’s satellites much faster at these altitudes than at altitudes commonly used. It would cut down latency dramatically to the 25 and 35ms range from the average 600ms of most ISPs.
SpaceX will build and maintain “its own satellites, gateway earth stations, and user terminals” effectively putting the structure in place for the satellite system to work. Perhaps most interesting are user terminals which home internet customers would use and mount to the house’s roof or wall—similar to current dishes.
Internet has become a necessity being used for everything from work to entertainment to commerce to communication and has allowed new technologies to make previous ones either obsolete or almost out of the door. It would make sense to push towards making sure everyone has greater access to the resource in some capacity—especially in developing countries and rural areas.
SpaceX has a lot of time to get things done with a two year window, but everything hinges on the project clearing the regulatory roadblock of the FCC.