Back in January, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced his intentions to build a satellite network that would provide high-speed internet from space. Now, he’s apparently making moves to begin testing said plans.
The Washington Post reports that Musk has asked the US government for permission to begin testing his satellite internet venture.
The request was made in a Federal Communications Commission filing. From the Post:
Musk’s FCC filing proposes tests starting next year. If all goes well, the service could be up and running in about five years.
The satellites would be deployed from one of SpaceX’s rockets, the Falcon 9. Once in orbit, the satellites would connect to ground stations at three West Coast facilities. The purpose of the tests is to see whether the antenna technology used on the satellites will be able to deliver high-speed Internet to the ground without hiccups.
The FCC confirmed the existence of the request but provided no further comment.
“The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber. The long-term potential is to be the primary means of long-distance Internet traffic and to serve people in sparsely populated areas,” said Musk earlier this year.
But Musk’s ambitions don’t stop at Earth. Musk wants to be the one providing internet for future Mars colonies.
“It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well,” he said. “I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it … we see it as a long-term revenue source for SpaceX to be able to fund a city on Mars.”
The news comes just a day after reports of Facebook scrapping a previously unknown project to develop its own $500 million satellite to provide low-cost internet to parts of the developing world.
Musk previously stated that his space internet project could cost as much as $10 billion.
Image via SpaceX