Still thinking about Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster blasting David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” into space? It turns out that’s not the only thing the billionaire has been up to in the past few weeks. And while it’s no Starman, the proposed end result is pretty amazing: covering up the entire planet with satellite Internet.
Called Starlink, the SpaceX project was created with the goal of providing fast connection to the web to the world. The idea is to create a whole constellation of satellites around our planet, enabling the creation of a space-based communication system. This should, in turn, mean easy and fast access to the Internet – basically covering Earth with Wi-Fi.
The first spacecrafts of the project, Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, were launched on the 22nd. They’ve got a few brothers coming their way in the next few years: the company is planning to have nearly 12,000 satellites in total. To put that into perspective, recent calculations put the current total of operational satellites around our planet at 1,738.
SpaceX’s satellites will be at different altitudes in our orbit, constantly in motion to provide a stable connection to the farthest places of the world.
While it’s unclear how accessible this type of Internet will be in terms of pricing, this huge connection mantle should definitely be a step forward. According to the International Telecommunication Union, only 51% of the world’s population has Internet access, leaving almost half the human race at an information disadvantage. In the meantime, Finland legislation has considered a fast connection to be a legal right for almost a decade.
Of course, this isn’t the first interesting project from SpaceX. The Musk-created company has the ultimate goal of enabling Mars colonization, and its way to reach that objective has been by trying to make space travel cheaper. Currently, one of the main focuses has been on creating reusable launch systems, as to make each trip less expensive.
Famously, the company recently launched Musk’s own Tesla Roadster into space, with a series of quirky cargo. Among the items traveling into space are a dummy christened as “Starman” in honor of David Bowie, a copy of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a towel.
Due to Musk’s direct involvement in a series of fascinating ventures, like SpaceX, Tesla and the Hyperloop, the South African billionaire has turned into a pop culture icon. Besides appearing in shows like The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory, rumor has it Robert Downey Jr. based his rendition of Tony Stark on Musk.