Not only wants Elon Musk to reach the stars, but also to create them.
On November 15th, the Federal Communication Commission approved the launch of about 7.000 satellites into the sky. Elon Musk’s crazy project for the future of the internet is now in operating conditions.
SpaceX conquests the Earth orbit
What a big time for Elon Musk. So far, SpaceX had obtained a permission to create a constellation of 4.425 satellites. But the FCC just accepted 7.000 satellites more. He is now able to build his full network of about 12.000 spacecrafts. Named “Starlink”, it is meant to provide an access to a cheaper and faster Internet.
However, this ambitious project could still be restricted. The risk of in-space collisions would upsurge drastically. The NASA already asked the company to plan a de-orbiting dispositive for outdated satellites, in order to preserve a safe space environment. Indeed, the total mass of all space objects in Earth Orbit already represents more than 8.100 tons.
That didn’t stop the FCC’s Chairman, Ajit Pai, to accept that crazy project : “Our approach to these applications reflects this commission’s fundamental approach to encourage the private sector to invest and to innovate and allow market forces to deliver value to American consumers”.
Faster and Cheaper
“Starlink”. This name could emerge as a turning point in the Internet history. This new constellation pledge to provide an access to a more efficient and cheaper Internet. Indeed, the internet connexion could reach a speed forty time faster than the one we have currently.
Plus, it would help developing countries and rural areas. To achieve their goal, Musk’s satellites are supposed to operate at a very low altitude : between 335 and 346 kilometers from Earth ? Plus, low-altitude satellites are smaller and way cheaper than the usual ones.
This new scheme would elevate the company to the position of the Internet top competitor.
An innovation race
Obviously, SpaceX is not the only one on the market. OneWeb, Telesat Canada and Space Norway have plans for similar operations. But their ambitious are different : OneWeb expect 900 to 2.000 satellites. Space X’s 12.000 satellites are clearly an insane project : it’s twice the number of satellites ever launched in all the spatial history, according to The Union of Concerned Scientists.
But for Elon Musk, all of this is worth a shot. He projects to use the revenue generated by the constellation to support his aspiration to colonize Mars.
However, the reality might be less impressive : the danger is still that the majority of the satellites will need to be taken out of orbit, to keep a safe and clean space environment. Elon Musk has never been so close to revolutionizing the Internet. If a success, the project would be concretely established by 2024.