And he’ll use the profits to help colonize Mars.
Elon Musk, the man who’s determined to move our civilization to Mars, will also tackle creating an Internet in space.
The CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX said Friday night that he will use a fleet of satellites to make the Internet speedier and to bring it to those without access, according to media reports of a private event in Seattle.
Details of the plan were shared before the event with Bloomberg.
While this new network would initially benefit only those of us on Earth, Musk said he has much loftier plans: using the profits to build a Martian city.
“We see it as a long-term revenue source for SpaceX to be able to fund a city on Mars,” Musk told Bloomberg. He didn’t offer specifics on how he’ll make money off the project, but he did mention the possibility of selling satellites after the network is completed. SpaceX did not return a request for comment.
To create the new network, SpaceX will build and launch roughly 4,000 satellites orbiting about 750 miles above earth, GeekWire reported.
SpaceX’s CRS-5 Dragon spacecraft in orbit. The company’s latest project aims to connect Earthlings to the Net using thousands of satellites.
Musk is known for his determination to colonize Earth’s relatively nearby neighbor, with plans to put humans on Mars by the mid 2020s. A member of the so-called “PayPal Mafia” — co-founders of the payment service who have found continued success after selling the company to eBay — Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 to “to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets,” according to the SpaceX website. It won a $2.6 billion contract from NASA last year, becoming one of the first private companies — the other is Boeing — set to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, beginning as early as 2017.
SpaceX unveiled its first manned spacecraft, the Dragon V2, in May. The craft is intended for trips to and from the space station, and the company successfully sent a cargo capsule to the ISS this month, but the “reusable” rocket crashed into its floating landing pad in the Atlantic Ocean.
And now it looks like Musk sees his space Internet project as another way of getting him to Mars. The network would take at least five years to develop and cost around $10 billion, he told Bloomberg. Instead of sending data through a network that uses fiber optic cables, the proposed system would bounce signals from satellite to satellite. Musk said the setup would also connect underserved communities that don’t have Net access. The project will be overseen at SpaceX’s new Seattle headquarters.
Musk isn’t the only space enthusiast who wants to make it to Mars. Living on the Red Planet has been a longtime science-fiction fantasy, and in recent years, a goal of many technologists. Mars One, for example, is trying to fund a human mission to Mars in 2025 by offering investors interplanetary product placement.