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SpaceX is about to launch its first prototype internet satellites and Tesla is getting a ground station

After the highly publicized Tesla Roadster launch on a Falcon Heavy, it looks like there’s going to be again some synergy between Elon Musk’s two main companies.

SpaceX is about to launch the first two prototypes for its satellite constellation to provide internet broadband services and Tesla is getting a ground station.

Along with its rocket launch services and its plan to colonize Mars, SpaceX is working on a less-publicized satellite constellation consisting of up to 12,000 satellites in orbit.

SpaceX has been working on their own satellites for the past 3 years and now they are getting ready to launch the first two prototypes as a secondary payload on their upcoming launch of hisdeSAT’s Paz, an earth observation satellite, on February 17th.

Ultimately, this constellation aims to offer broadband internet services to end users.

The company is currently working on the user terminal to receive the signal, but those prototype satellites will be tested with broadband downlink test stations.

Interestingly, all those ground stations are at SpaceX facilities and mobile stations in vans except for one, which is located at Tesla’s Fremont facilities, according to FCC document filed by SpaceX:

  1. SpaceX Headquarters: Hawthorne, California
  2. Tesla Motors Headquarters: Fremont, California
  3. SpaceX Test Center: McGregor, Texas
  4. SpaceX Brownsville: Brownsville, Texas
  5. SpaceX Redmond: Redmond, Washington
  6. SpaceX Brewster: Brewster, Washington
  7. SpaceX Broadband Test Van 1: Transportable
  8. SpaceX Broadband Test Van 2: Transportable
  9. SpaceX Broadband Test Van 3: Transportable

The station is fueling speculation that Tesla could take advantage of SpaceX’s internet services.

SpaceX officials said that they don’t expect that it will be available until late in the decade or early in the next, but the launch of the first two prototypes is the most important step in the program to date.

The launch is currently planned for February 17th 2018, 06:17 PST / 14:17 UTC.

Electrek’s Take

It’s kind of out of my wheelhouse, but I received insights from many people who think that Tesla could become a customer of SpaceX’s satellite constellation. Tesla’s vehicles are always connected to the internet through 3G or 4G connections, but some think that they could switch to a space-based connection.

I am not sure that it makes sense on a technological basis, but it’s certainly an interesting thought.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

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