Following in the footsteps of Facebook and Google, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is apparently looking to launch hundreds of small satellites to orbit Earth in order to deliver Internet access to even the remote corners of the world.
Supposedly, Musk is collaborating with Greg Wyler, who led Google's satellite division and now runs WorldVu Satellites in order to launch a fleet of as many as 700 satellites that would provide the world with affordable internet. It's reported that they want each satellite to cost less than $1 million (£630,000) which is relatively inexpensive and weigh less than 113kg. Considering the present internet satellites weigh about 127kg, that's quite a lot to ask for.
If the partnership moves forward, the satellites would be released from SpaceX’s stable of rockets. Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, which is now a leading private spaceflight company based in California.
Wyler apparently brought a similar plan during his time at Google, but felt that the search giant didn't have sufficient manufacturing capabilities to pull it off. Now that he and Musk are collaborating together they are reportedly in talks with officials in Florida and Colorado to construct a satellite factory.
The final product satellite will likely be cheaper and much better than the current fleet. This would help in establishing a network that can smoothly beam the internet to so many distant corners of the world. The aim is to provide internet access and help others. Manufacturing smaller satellites is not just advancement in technology, but also a challenging task in itself. The satellites will drive out the problem of signals even in the remote areas of the Earth.
WorldVu will be guided by Elon Musk and Greg Wyler. Musk’s SpaceX is also expert in manufacturing rockets and has sent numerous payloads into space, including supplies to the International Space Station under contract with NASA. Just a couple months ago, SpaceX alongside aircraft giant Boeing, won another NASA contract for $2.6 billion to build and later launch manned spacecrafts that will carry US astronauts. SpaceX and Tesla have already gone through many technical and financial obstacles by launching electric cars and cheap rockets. Developing low cost satellites will add another feather in their cap.
There are a lot of hurdles the duo will face before they can begin manufacturing the internet satellites, including financing and regulation issues. The cost of getting the company off the ground may be as high as $1 billion (£630 million), and Wyler and Musk are seeking partners in the satellite industry. However, neither Elon Musk nor Greg Wyler has confirmed this collaboration, but according to reports, it is definitely a solid project and would be started in the very near future.