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SpaceX seeks U.S. approval for internet-via-satellite network


11/18/2016


SpaceX seeks U.S. approval for internet-via-satellite network
According to newly filed documents with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, private rocket launch service SpaceX is requesting government approval to operate a massive satellite network that would provide high-speed, global internet coverage.
 
The documents filed shows that the a proposal for an orbiting digital communications array that would eventually consist of 4,425 satellites has been filed by the California-based company, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk.
 
The project was first announced in January 2015 and Musk previously said it would cost at least $10 billion. The owner of SpaceX - billionaire Musk, is also the chief executive of electric car company Tesla.
 
However the cost estimates or financing plans were not mentioned in the latest documents which include technical details of the proposed network.
 
Alphabet's Google Inc and Fidelity Investments, which together have contributed $1 billion to Musk's space launch firm, are included in the list of financial backers of the company, whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
 
The FCC filings showed that the company wants to expand internet access in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and it wants to begin this by the proposed SpaceX network with the launch of about 800 satellites.
 
"The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, government and professional users worldwide," SpaceX said in technical documents accompanying its filing.
 
Privately owned OneWeb and by Boeing Co. are now developing similar internet-via-satellite networks.
 
He filing from the earlier this week showed that the company has outlined plans to put 4,425 satellites into space. It can be mentioned here that SpaceX is the company that has embarked to plan to set on a mission to colonize Mars.
 
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a not-for-profit group made up of scientists across the world, the number of satellites that are being planned to be launched by SpaceX is three times the 1,419 satellites that are currently in space.
 
Even as there are reports that no time limit for the project has been fixed, the company plans that it would launch 800 satellites initially in order to expand internet in the U.S. and then the rest of the satellites would follow.
 
Space-based alternative to cable, fiber-optics and other terrestrial internet access currently available, would be provided by such a system.
 
SpaceX did not say when its launches would occur.
 
The orbital heights ranging from 714 miles to 823 miles (1,150-1,325 km) above Earth are worked out for such satellites. SapceX said that each satellite would weigh 850 pounds (386 kg) and would be about the size of an average car, not including solar panels.
 
Launching satellites into orbit for government and commercial customers is SpaceX's primary business. It also flies cargo supply ships to the International Space Station for NASA.
On September 1, an accident that destroyed a $62 million Falcon 9 booster and a $200 million Israeli communications satellite occurred during the launch of a SpaceX rocket and since that time, the launches of rockets have been put on hold. The company hopes to resume flights next month.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com & www.cnbc.com)