Space X is developing a vast global network of 4K internet satellites

by on November 17, 2016

Stephan Jukic – November 17, 2016

As anyone who hasn’t been living under a total media blackout for the past couple years or less knows by now, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is definitely far from shy about pursuing cutting edge new technologies in its quest for domination of the orbital skies and beyond.

Now however, moving away from their core business of hauling payloads into orbit for public and private space agencies, the company’s founder Elon Musk has claimed that he wants to build a global 4K satellite system for worldwide delivery of low cost high-speed internet.

Elon Musk recently filed a request for approval with the Federal Communications Commission of a plan by SpaceX to deliver “High-speed, reliable and affordable broadband service” to consumers around the world. This service will serve to cover areas of the planet that are bereft of internet service or only serviced poorly at the present time.

According to what we know of SpaceX’s plans, the company will be deploying a vast array of over 4000 satellites into low-Earth orbit and servicing these with a series of related ground control facilities for the delivery of communications services to all sorts of users, be they residential, rural, commercial, institutional or government-related.

One of SpaceX's Dragon capsules delivering a payload into space

One of SpaceX’s Dragon capsules delivering a payload into space

800 initial satellites will provide coverage of the continental United States with inclusion of Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands and then once full deployment of the 4000 satellite array has been achieved, “the SpaceX system will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service”, according to the company’s 102-page technical paper to the FCC (PDF download) on the subject.

Potential uses for the planned 4K satellite array are still being fleshed out but there’s no rush on the issue since the whole thing will take several years to implement anyhow and will cost roughly $10 billion, which is actually remarkably cheap considering the normal costs of widespread satellite network development.

Now you might be wondering at this point where the 4K aspect of this whole gigantic SpaceX plan comes into play. Well, Musk has put forth the idea developing a high-speed satellite internet service with what he has promised to be fiber optic speeds thanks to low altitude satellites in orbit. This is actually quite similar to a plan by Facebook for global internet connectivity for the 5 billion people on the planet with extremely limited or nonexistent internet access.

In any case, the huge SpaceX satellite array that is now in the works is slated to deliver Musk’s 2015 promise of a high-speed satellite web service with said fiber-optic bandwidth and as a result, this internet service should be quite 4K video capable for streaming of assorted content sources globally and even to some of the world’s remotest areas.

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