SpaceX requests permission to operate 4,425 satellite network to provide planet wide internet coverage

Elon Musk is planning to put more than 4,000 satellites into orbit to provide planet wide internet access of up to 1Gbps, using his space company SpaceX.

SpaceX, has requested permission from the US government to operative a network of 4,425 satellites to provide high speed internet. SpaceX filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday. The first launches will send 800 satellites blanketing the US, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. “The system is designed to provide a wide range of broadband and communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, government and professional users worldwide,” said SpaceX in the filing.

The satellites are about the size of a compact car and their orbit would range between 714 miles to 823 miles above the earth. The satellites are designed to last between five to seven years. It would take five years to launch all 4,425 satellites.

First proposed in 2015, Elon Musk said it would cost atleast $10bn. Google has already invested $1bn to the project.

OneWeb and Boeing are also developing a similar network, including Facebook’s project that went up in flames during a SpaceX test launch.


Musk details on ITS in Reddit AMA

Elon Musk held an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on r/SpaceX two days ago, Musk noted it was meant to supplement his IAC talk, which had focused on the Interplanetary Transit System (ITS) or additionally known as the Heart of Gold and their goal of going to Mars.

Musk gave details about the ITS stating SpaceX must figure out how to seal the carbon tanks in the ITS booster against cryo propellant. “The oxygen tank also has an oxidation risk problem as it is pressurized with pure, hot oxygen. Will almost certainly need to apply an inert layer of some kind. Hopefully, something that can be sprayed. If need be, will use thin sheets of invar welded together on the inside.”

Musk noted that the ITS could handle peak loads of 10 to 15 g’s without breaking up. Musk also noted that “The flight tank will actually be slightly longer than the development tank shown, but the same diameter. That was built with latest and greatest carbon fiber prepreg. In theory, it should hold cryogenic propellant without leaking and without a sealing linker.”

Musk says live mock-ups of the interior of the ITS may be available in one to two years. The plan would be to fly the ITS to Mars, loaded with equipment to build a propellant plant, though SpaceX still has to figure out refueling. Currently the plan includes sending the Dragon on scouting missions, to figure out where to land and what the best way would be to get water for the CH4/O2 sabatier reaction.

The first crew mission would have equipment to build rudimentary bases and complete the propellant plant. Musk also said SpaceX would try to double the number of flights with each Earth-Mars orbital rendezvous, which is every 26 months, until the city can grow by itself.

As for homes, Musk stated that “glass panes with carbon fiber frames to build geodesic domes on the surface, plus a lot of miner/tunneling droids. With the latter, you can build out a huge amount of pressurized space for industrial operations and leave the glass domes for green living space.”

Hyperloop One successfully tested its electromagnetic transport system and it looks promising.

The company, Hyperloop One, is one of a few companies developing the Hyperloop technology, conceived by Elon Musk. This new transportation technology would use pods that are propelled through a tube system using magnetic and air levitation propulsion systems. Originally worked on by engineers from Tesla and SpaceX it was released as an open source technology. Hyperloop, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, and Transpod, a Toronto-based company, are all working on a full-scale Hyperloop transportation system.

Hyperloop One tested their system on  a 200 feet test track on May 11th, 2016 in Nevada and reached 187kph, their goal is 1,080kph. Though its not completely functional nor completely safe. The company hopes to have a fully functional system by 2020. This fifth mode of transportation, as its being called, would be revolutionary. It would allow for faster travel between cities without having to take the plane and its proposed as being green, cheap, and fast. Though it’ll have to pass all sorts of safety tests and the company(s) will face massive amounts of financial costs to build a network of tubes.