This is Elon Musk's Plan to Build a Space Internet

By Chris Mills on at

Elon Musk doesn't dream small. That much is pretty clear from the hovering space rockets and the vacuum-tube mass transit system. But his latest brainwave, which involves covering both the Earth and Mars in a blanket of sweet, sweet internet, is downright ballsy.

Rumours of Elon Musk using SpaceX to put a constellation of internet-providing satellites into orbit aren't new — he's even confirmed it's something he's thinking about. But a Businessweek report has the full details. Some are expected, some a little less so.

First, the stuff we already knew, or thought we knew: Musk will be using a constellation of 'several hundred' small satellites to give the planet global internet coverage. By using smaller satellites located close to the Earth, Musk thinks he can get the system into orbit cheaply, and also provide a faster satellite internet speed than what's currently available.

In fact, according to the Businessweek report, Musk isn't just hoping to connect the third world (a la Facebook and Google) with this project: the satellite system will rival existing fibre networks for speed.

Musk is thinking big in another way: Mars. He has made his ambition to establish a Martian colony pretty clear before, and, of course, you can't have a human colony without Netflix. More usefully, any new colony would need some kind of communications network, and the space entrepreneur thinks lots of satellites is the easiest way to do this.

Although there's no immediate timeline for when Elon is going to save you from Comcast, '50-60' employees will apparently start working on the project from the company's Seattle office, with that workforce growing dramatically over the next few years. [Businessweek]