Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX has unveuled plans to deploy 4,425 super-fast internet satellites in space by 2019, according to CNBC.
Earlier this month, the firm filed a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) document outlining plans to send thousands of internet satellites into space but without a timeline.
This has since changed, with SpaceX president of satellite government affairs Patricia Cooper confirming that the company is currently working on a prototype.
Cooper said on Wednesday that SpaceX is in the process of testing the prototype to ensure that it has the ability to orbit in space successfully.
Based on the results of the test, the first satellite will be launched by the end of the year, and a second will be sent to space in the “early months” of 2018.
Speaking at the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology on last wednesday, Cooper added the space agency will continue to test and launch these satellites over the next few years.
The aim is to get most of them in space by 2019, but this process is likely to continue to the mid 2020s: “The remaining satellites in the constellation will be launched in phases through 2024,” she said.
SpaceX is planning to put more than 4,400 of these satellites into space to speed up broadband in the US. They’ll travel around space in 83 orbital planes, ranging at altitudes of between 1,110 KM and 1,325 KM.
Musk has ambitious plans to improve broadband connectivity in the US. The firm said speeds lag behind many other developed countries, and it wants to change this.
It envisages a “mesh network”, which will consist of the SpaceX satellites. They’ll be able to bring internet to rural areas in the US, the firm said.