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Elon Musk's SpaceX Plans to Provide 200x Better Internet Globally

Nov 29, 2016 11:38 AM EST

It seems Elon Musk is not just all about cars and space colonization. SpaceX's latest mission is what appears to be an ambitious undertaking that aims to enclose the planet with high-speed internet coverage 200 times faster than the one we have today.

According to the SpaceX subreddit, the company has just filed quite a lengthy application with the Federal Communications Commission on November 15 to launch 4,425 satellites.

This is almost thrice as many as the 1,419 active satellites that are currently orbiting the planet. According to Science Alert, this of course discounts roughly 2,600 non-functioning satellites around the planet.

Regardless, some of the biggest telecommunications satellites weigh several tons and can be the size of a bus. According to the SpaceX application, however, each satellite will weigh 386 kilograms and will be the size of a Mini Cooper. They will also orbit altitudes ranging from 1,150 kilometers to 1,275 kilometers, with each satellite covering an ellipse about 2,120 kilometers wide.

The system apparently allows for a wide range of broadband and communication services for various means, such as commercial, institutional, governmental and professional users. 

The company plans to send up to 1,600 satellites in one orbital attitude, and then 2,825 more in four shells at different altitudes. It added in the application that the first 800 satellites will be able to provide widespread U.S. and international coverage for broadband devices, with bandwidth up to 1GB/s per user.

According to Akamai's State of the Internet report, the global average of internet speed in 2015 was just 5.1 MB/s a year. Even Australia's NBN network is just promising 100 MB/s. 

SpaceX's new program will not only provide high-capacity internet but also be highly adaptable and will allocate broadband services to a worldwide coverage. 

However, the satellites will apparently last for just five to seven years and decay afterward. Science Alert also added that Musk first discussed this plan back in 2015, and the project will most likely to cost an estimate of US$10 billion, as it would be "like rebuilding the internet in space." 

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