The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation ('SpaceX
') is involved with a range of space related projects. The headline project is to reduce space transportation costs as well as to enable the colonization of Mars. With space transportation, one stated aim
is to send passengers around the Moon by as early as next year (2018).
Behind these bigger projects, SpaceX have also been looking at communications technology. The Verge reports
that this includes bringing the Internet to space. Part of this is with a look to the future, to allow SpaceX's theoretical Martian colony to communicate with Earth. In the shorter term, the idea has been mooted to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to develop a lucrative, globe-spanning satellite network that would bring terrestrial Internet
into space. Such a plan would help the Earth in the short term. Here continuous access to the Internet could be provided to base stations around Earth, providing simple connectivity to the planet’s most remote communities such as research stations in Antarctica.
The SpaceX plan, if approved, is to have 4,425 satellites in non-geostationary orbit
traveling in a tightly choreographed ballet 700 miles above the surface of the Earth. The Federal Communications Commission has yet to comment on the proposal.
In related space transportation news, the South China Post has reported
that China is similarly developing ways to lower space transportation costs. This is via a system designed to recover parts of rockets used in space launches to bring down costs and make its space program more commercially competitive.