Elon Musk Aspires To Launch Internet Into Space

Leah Fleischel

Elon Musk's company, SpaceX, has filed a request with the federal government for permission to start testing a project that could bring Internet to all parts of the world -- from space.

The plan is to launch about 4,000 satellites that would be able to make high-speed Internet signals available to all parts of the world, even the most isolated parts, Elon Musk has said.

It "would be like rebuilding the Internet in space," Musk has said of the project, according to the Washington Post.

Elon Musk's idea of sending internet signals to Earth from space has been attempted before by the likes of successful businessmen, such as Bill Gates in the 1990s, with no avail.

Facebook also recently abandoned a similar plan to build a $500 million satellite that would provide the world with another option for Internet service.

However, Elon Musk knows of the obstacles that others have came across, and has the means to avoid them.

Working to Elon Musk's advantage is the fact that he has his own rocket, and he has said his satellites are easy to replace because they are smaller and inexpensive compared to large devices that have been used in past attempts.

If Elon Musk is successful in this endeavor, SpaceX will become a big rival for telecom companies like Comcast, AT&T, and others.

In January, Elon Musk hinted at plans of created a space-based Internet service provider and said that it would "be a real enabler for people in poorer regions of the world" and even help to make the Internet better in the United States "where people are stuck with Time Warner or Comcast."

Should the satellites produce high-speed internet as expected, Elon Musk's SpaceX, located in Hawthorne, California, would transform from a company that solely focuses on rockets into a very large Internet provider.

The filing with the Federal Communications Commission shows that Elon Musk would like to start the testing phase of his satellite plan as early as 2016.

These would not be the first satellites in space, but they would be much different than the ones currently serving companies like Dish Network and DirecTV.

Dish satellites are located much farther into space and can only give service to specific regions, such as the United States.

Elon Musk has said before that he expects his service to be responsible for about 10 percent of all Internet traffic.

SpaceX's collection of satellites would wrap around Earth in low orbit, giving Internet signals to one another, which would make connections stronger and more widespread across the globe.

The efforts are not going to stop at planet Earth, according to a statement that Elon Musk made in January about the possibility of sustaining life on other planets.

"Mars is going to need a global communications system, too... A lot of what we do developing Earth-based communications can be leveraged for Mars, as well, as crazy as that may sound."

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