Source: MIT Tech Review
Published: April 2020
n = 7,925 U.S. adults
Circulated: April 30, 2020
More than 3.5 billion people lack internet access. Companies like SpaceX and OneWeb think they can deliver broadband internet to the planet by launching mega-constellations of thousands of satellites.
The mega-constellations are feasible because we have learned to build smaller satellites and launch them more cheaply. During the space shuttle era (1972–2011), launching a satellite into space cost roughly $24,800 per pound. Today a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch costs about $1,240 per pound.
The upside: thousands of satellites could supply internet access for even the poorest and most remote populations on the planet.
The downside: a collision could cause millions of pieces of space debris, making satellite services and future space exploration next to impossible.