Billionaire Elon Musk plans to launch thousands of satellites into space through his company SpaceX in order to provide the entire planet with high speed Internet access.
SpaceX outlined plans to launch 4,425 satellites into orbit around Earth in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing. Currently there are approximately 1,419 satellites in Earth’s orbit, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, and SpaceX’s satellite launches would nearly triple that amount. The plans for this project were first announced by Elon Musk in 2015, estimating costs for the completed project to be around 10 billion dollars.
According to the filing, SpaceX plans to launch 800 satellites initially, focusing on internet connectivity across the USA before further expanding the project’s reach to encompass the rest of the planet. The FCC filing states, “The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, government and professional users worldwide.”
The internet speed of the satellites is expected to be as fast as 1GB per second, which is 180 times faster than the current average global Internet connection of 5.6MB per second according to the Akamai State of the Internet report from 2015.
It was reported earlier this year that Google and Fidelity had invested close to $1 billion in SpaceX to support the new satellite system. There is currently no timeline for the initial launch of the first 800 satellites.