SpaceX will send the Falcon 9 rocket into space today, carrying a Spanish satellite along with two smaller experimental satellites, the latter a part of Elon Musk’s mission to provide space-based internet service.
The plan, dubbed Starlink, would position over 10,000 small satellites around Earth by 2024. Earlier this week, Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai Ajit Pai endorsed the goal, citing its potential to supply low-cost broadband connection to rural communities unreachable by cables and towers.
Such a network has the potential to be worth billions because it bypasses ground-based complications such as trenches and property rights. This has drawn other companies such as OneWeb, which recently struck a deal with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, into the race to supply cheap high-speed internet.
However, SpaceX is in a good position after its successful Falcon Heavy launch that promises to lower costs of space flight dramatically. Expect the coming years to bring a rapid increase in the number of private satellites in orbit, further shifting space away from government control.
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Taylor provides insight into trade and technology, with a particular focus on North America and the Asia Pacific. He also serves as a copy editor on The Daily Brief.