Elon Musk will start testing beaming internet from space

Elon Musk has filed a request with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to start testing his project to beam the internet from space. Musk plans to use his own SpaceX Rocket ‘Falcon 9’ to launch around 4000 small satellites in space which will beam internet signals to the entire globe including remote regions which don’t currently have internet access.

Musk has said his ambitious project “Would be like rebuilding the internet in space”. By using lots of small inexpensive satellites which are more efficient than large ones and easier to repair or replace Musk believes he can overcome challenges and failures that have hit similar projects in the past. Musk also owns his own rocket which will of course be useful and reduce costs. Bill Gates attempted a similar mission in the 1990’s but the $9 billion project flopped.

If Musk is given the go ahead, testing will begin next year and space internet could be operational in as little as 5 years. A major challenge will be getting permission from all the countries he plans to beam the internet to, but undeterred Musk says it will be a “real enabler for poorer regions of the world”.  SpaceX was developed with the aim of flying people to Mars and Musk is so convinced this will succeed he has said “Mars is going to need a global communication system too.”

British entrepreneur Richard Branson is working on a similar project to beam the internet from space with OneWeb. So which self-made billionaire will be the first to succeed in beaming the internet from space Or is it just pie in the sky?

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