SpaceX aims to launch internet from space

Private rocket firm SpaceX has applied for government permission to launch satellites that will provide global broadband internet access.

In a filing to the US Federal Communications Commission (FFC), it laid out details about its plans for a 4,425-strong satellite network.

It is one of several companies aiming to deploy satellite-based internet services over the next few years.

SpaceX suffered a setback in September when a rocket exploded.

In a statement, the firm said: “Once fully deployed, the SpaceX system will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service.”

The satellites would orbit the planet at altitudes ranging from 714 to 823 miles (1,150 to 1,325 km). That is above the International Space Station but below geostationary satellites.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, announced last year that the service would be “larger than anything that has been talked about to date” adding that it would take about $10bn (£8bn) to get it off the ground.

The latest documents did not include costs.

It suggested that the first 800 satellites would be used to expand internet access in the US, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands.

Each satellite, about the size of an average car, not including solar panels, would weigh 850 pounds (386kg), the firm said.

SpaceX rocket launches have been on hold since September following an accident that destroyed a $62m Falcon 9 booster and a $200m Israeli communication satellite. The firm hopes to resume flights next month.

 

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Source: BBC