The race is on for Global Internet coverage

Things are hotting up in the race for Global Internet coverage.

What will this mean for marketers?

The exciting thing is the opportunities for social media marketing with Facebook and Twitter suddenly becoming available to 7 billion people!!

SpaceX wants to cover the globe with gigabit Wi-Fi using a fleet of satellites

Space Exploration Holdings (aka SpaceX) filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday to launch a satellite system that would provide gigabit Wi-Fi internet across the globe. These satellites will be non-geostationary, meaning they will have different orbital velocities than the earth. They will also broadcast internet connections to fixed receivers on the ground through the Ku and Ka frequency bands.

If you’re not familiar with Ku and Ka, they are a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies. Ku consists of the 12GHz to 18GHz portion while Ka is the 26.5Ghz to 40GHz portion. Ka resides directly above the main K band whereas Ku resides directly underneath the K band. Both are typically used by communications satellites.

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The application was published by the FCC on Thursday, and reveals that SpaceX intends to launch a massive fleet consisting of 4,425 satellites, and that’s not including the in-orbit spares that will be used when primary satellites fail. Overall, the fleet will be operating on 83 orbital planes at altitudes ranging from 690 miles to 823 miles above Earth.

More specifically, the application shows that SpaceX plans to make an initial deployment of 1,600 satellites first, which will be divided up into 50 satellites per orbital plane, with a total of 32 planes in use at an altitude of 714 miles. After that, SpaceX will deploy 2,825 satellites across 32 planes at 670 miles up (50 per plane), eight planes at 702 miles (50 per plane), five planes at 792 miles (75 per plane), and six planes at 823 miles (75 per plane).

While this constellation of satellites has the potential of providing the entire planet with gigabit Wi-Fi, the Fixed Satellite Service proposed by SpaceX would at first only be provided in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, the system can provide service to all locations 70 degrees north and 55 degrees south for at least 75 percent of a 24-hour period.

“Once fully deployed, the SpaceX System will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service,” the company states in its application (PDF). “Because of the combination of orbital planes used in the SpaceX System, including the use of near-polar orbits, every point on the Earth’s surface will see, at all times, a SpaceX satellite at an elevation no less than 40 degrees, with increasing minimum elevation angles at lower latitude.”

On a whole, the size of the SpaceX satellite constellation is insane. Right now, there are 1,419 active satellites orbiting Earth, 576 of which stem from the United States alone (286 commercial, 132 government, 146 military). Even more, there are around 2,600 satellites floating in space that no longer work, trashing up Earth’s front yard. Add those two numbers together, and the SpaceX fleet is insanely huge given it’s to be deployed by a single company.

The plan is that the broadband service provided by these satellites will actually launch once SpaceX uploads the first 800 units into orbit. Again, their reach will cover the United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and part of Alaska. When that will be is anybody’s guess right now, as the application needs to be approved, the satellites built and launched, the receiving bases built, and a service established.

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Don’t pack your bags yet, but Stephen Hawking gives us only 1,000 years on earth

It’s time to start shopping for a new solar system. Earth will be done for humans within 1,000 years, so at least some of us need to get off the planet or it’s buh-bye for our species, says Stephen Hawking, according to Extreme Tech.

The British theoretical physicist pointed out that the earth, like all planets, is fragile. Current life forms, especially larger ones like humans, could cease to exist due to any number of catastrophic planetary hair days. All it takes is for our atmosphere to take just one sick day and we’re history with no one to read about it.

The odds of today being the last day? Not too great, although a large enough, previously-undetected, careening asteroid could raise a planet-sized dust cover that would block sunlight for months, according to NASA. A sudden planetary event could bring a relatively quick demise, which might be merciful compared to the other threats Hawking envisions.

The author of the bestselling A Brief History of Time is more concerned about the potential slower agony of threats to our life on earth from climate change due to global warming, artificial intelligence, and even alien invasion.

If threatening aliens do show up, they won’t arrive in spaceships wielding plasma ray weapons. More likely, aliens that could crash our planet party would be in the form of a virus or bacteria hitching a ride amidst the “100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles” by which the planet is bombarded every day, according to NASA.

Of Hawking’s top four, he said in a presentation at Oxford’s University Union that the greatest concerns are for the next century, during which developing artificial intelligence and continuing global climate change could each alter the “future of humanity.”

The answer to preserving humanity is a “backup.” Hawking said the only way to protect our species is to have humans in more than one place in the universe. Another group would need to live independently on another planet or preferably in another solar system in case our sun spins out, winks off, or suddenly boosts its own emissions beyond our biology’s survival range.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s plans to colonize Mars with 1 million people to save humanity are in alignment with Hawking’s predictions, but perhaps the Tesla founder needs to think bigger and beyond our solar system.

Elon Musk and his Mission to Mars and to save Humanity

Elon Musk presented his vision of SpaceX’s eventual manned missions to Mars at IAC2016. During his presentation, the entrepreneur made a number of announcements regarding SpaceX’s goals for Martian landfall and colonizing Mars. Musk’s main point of discussion dealt primarily with SpaceX’s new massive Interplanetary Transport System, a system which utilizes three separate vehicles to make the trip to Mars and is key to Musk’s plan of making travel to Mars an obtainable reality for almost anyone.Related: SpaceX still on course for a manned mission to Mars ‘in 10 years, maybe sooner’

The system makes use of a massive booster known as the Raptor, a souped-up version of the Falcon 9 which retains the Falcon 9’s multi-use design and thruster landing. The crew transport ship intends to carry 100 people (though Musk plans for more), and features solar arrays and additional thrusters, as well as massive carbon fiber fuel tanks. A refueling craft loaded with methane fuel would also come in use, thus reducing the initial launch weight of the transport ship.

Detailing the launch procedure, Musk says it plans to involve the Raptor booster launching the crew transport in orbit around Earth. The booster would then return to the launch pad where it would be loaded with the refueling craft. After the booster launches again, the refueling craft would dock with the transport before fueling up and beginning the trip towards Mars.

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While Musk primarily showed off digital images and videos during the presentation, he stressed the fact each each one comes directly from SpaceX’s CAD design files and will resemble the final versions.

Using this new system, Musk said it would take anywhere from 40 to 100 years worth of manned trips to achieve the agency’s goal of moving 1 million people to Mars and establishing a self-sustaining city. This equates to roughly 10,000 flights carrying 100 to 200 people on each voyage — additionally, trips would take an average of 115 days while fluctuating between 80 and 140 days depending on the given distance between Earth and Mars. These trips would occur once every 26 months during the Earth-Mars rendezvous, otherwise known as when the two planets are closest to each other.

Musk expects the first passenger flights to begin in a decade or so and estimates the cost to run at about $200,000 per ticket — which is incredibly cheaper than what it would currently cost to send someone to Mars.

While these early trips sound like long, arduous endeavors, Musk assures the transport ship intends to feature plenty of entertainment including games, movie theaters, and restaurants. In time, given advancements in technology, Musk believes the trip time to drop to as little as 30 days.

So, that covers getting to Mars, but what happens when the passengers arrive?

Once on Mars, crews expect to get right to work building self-sustaining colonies which could include everything from restaurants to factories. Due to Mars’ resource-rich environment —which includes water, ice, and mineral and metal deposits — Musk assures crews won’t have to worry about a shortage of job opportunities on the red planet. Musk stated he hopes the new system has the ability to make “Mars seem possible.” Citing a desire to make Mars seem fun and adventurous, the SpaceX frontman intends to put the “dream of Mars in people’s heads.” While these manned flights are still several years out, SpaceX remains committed to sending an unmanned mission to mars by 2018, additionally vowing to send a craft to Mars during each Earth-Mars rendezvous from then on.

Travel to Mars was not the only use of this new Interplanetary transport System.

Musk proposed the Raptor booster could see added work by transporting cargo anywhere on Earth within 45 minutes, provided the proper landing location becomes accessible. He also explained how the Interplanetary Transport System’s refueling craft is the precursor to a solar system-spanning fuel depot where craft could have the ability to refuel on their way to the outer reaches of our solar system.

While this won’t enable interstellar travel, Musk did express during the Q&A section he often thinks about interstellar travel — something he believes will most likely be solved with anti-matter drives.

Musk was sure to drive the point home that we face an existential threat as a species: life as we know it will either go extinct or we could choose to become a multiplanetary species, a particularly dark subject he brought up numerous times during his presentation and the following Q&A session.

Related: Bioengineered bacteria could be used to 3D print food and tools on Mars

Musk is not alone in his call to make humans multiplanetary in order to save ourselves. Fellow entrepreneur Richard Branson and retired astronaut and second man of the Moon Buzz Aldrin have both expressed their own visions of humans becoming a dual planet species in the past. SpaceX’s initiative makes Martian exploration and colonization seem attainable in the near future but SpaceX isn’ the only agency working towards this goal. While SpaceX’s plans are by far the most aggressive, NASA, ESA, and the space programs of India, Russia, and China all have Mars missions currently planned or proposed. Given the number of companies and organizations that are invest in making Mars their next conquest, it seems its only a matter of time until Musk’s dreams come true.

Source: Digital Trends

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