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Elon Musk Confirms that SpaceX Will Soon Be Launching Satellites for “Unfettered, Low Cost” Internet

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Image credit: flaivoloka

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX recently wrote on Twitter, claiming SpaceX was planning to send off a group of micro-satellites which would offer internet access with high-speed, low cost and no restriction. Musk also confirmed that more details regarding this project would be released formally in coming months.

Although SpaceX could use its own Falcon 9 rockets for launching such satellites, it was still unknown that how Musk would continue his involvement in this project. It was believed that Musk would work together with Greg Wyler, founder of WorldVu Satellites and O3b Networks. SpaceX was still making efforts to develop advanced micro-satellites which would be under operation in large formations.

According to Space News, from an unnamed source within the industry, WorldVu had already solicited bids for contractors to set up 640 satellites to form the constellation, which had aroused a lot of interest from different manufacturers.

In order that the price would be cut down, some of the satellite components would be manufactured in-house, apart from those parts to be supplied by the contracted company. The targeted cost for each satellite would be below $1 million.

While more details were not available at this stage, it was estimated that the entire cost of the project would be $1.5 billion and it was necessary to raise such a large amount of money ahead of schedule.

Although one obstacle related with such ambitious venture was to acquire capital, WorldVu was also facing the problem associated with setting up factories in Florida or Colorado to produce the satellites, and jumping through the regulatory hoops that would ensure such satellites to occupy the area they desire.

The devices were designed with weight of 125 kilograms and equipped with advanced technology to challenge the current full-sized satellites which usually have the weigh twice as heavy as these ones. It was anticipated that every satellite would have a throughput of 14 gigabits per second, allowing reduction of lag time and delays with service.

Before the official announcement was to be made, it was still   early to make sure about the time such satellites would be under operation and they would connect people with the rapid, cheap and unresticted access to the internet. Besides its current commitment in unmanned resupply missions to the ISS, SpaceX was engaged in contracting NASA for development of its Dragon V2 spacecraft which would enable human spaceflight to come back to the US.

Apart from the idea of the WorldVu satellite constellation, some other companies also showed strong interest in offering providing high-altitude solutions regarding easy internet access. At present, Google was developing Project Loon, which would apply balloons for creating a network in addition to a constellation of 180 satellites. Moreover, Facebook was intended to use solar-powered drones, similar to the size of a Boeing 747 to do the same job. As for WorldVu’s network, if it was launched as scheduled, it would be ten times huger than any satellite constellation of its kind.

Source: Engadget