Elon Musk Reveals Plans For Huge Space Internet

Fleet of satellites to beam Internet from orbit, but Branson announces similar idea

Tesla-owner and tech billionaire Elon Musk has revealed his plans for a space Internet project that would use satellites to beam cheap connectivity around the world.

The plan, which would cost $15bn and use hundreds of satellites placed in orbit 750 miles above the Earth, would be able to give Internet coverage to communities which do not yet have access to the web.

750-mile high orbit

At an orbit of 750 miles, the satellites would be placed lower than traditional communication satellites, improving speed and coverage.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Musk said: “The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fibre. The long-term potential is to be the primary means of long-distance Internet traffic and to serve people in sparsely populated areas.

“Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date.”

Musk intends to employ up to 1,000 people on the project in the next few years, and also hinted at using the satellite network to aid a manned Mars mission.

Musk said: “It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well. I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it.” Musk said that it could take up to five years for his plan to lift off. Meanwhile, Richard Branson has announced a similar idea that willelon musk see 648 micro satellites providing Internet access and communication services from orbit.

The project, called OneWeb, will be “the world’s largest-ever satellite network”, said Branson.

Branson’s Virgin Galactic private space firm will build its own launcher called LauncherOne to place the satellites in orbit.

Branson said: “I don’t think Elon can do a competing thing. There isn’t space for another network, like there physically is not enough space. If Elon wants to get into this area the logical thing for him would be to tie up with us.”

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