Elon Musk has been talking about his plans to bring affordable internet to everyone in the world for years. Back in 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that the founder of SpaceX and Tesla was figuring out how to launch small satellites into space to create a high-speed network with the capability of reaching everyone on the planet.
This week, SpaceX will take a significant step forward in their mission to turn that dream into a reality. The company will be launching two test satellites on February 21, after initial plans to begin on February 17 were delayed to "perform final checkouts of upgraded fairing."
SpaceX's ambitious goal to launch over 4,000 lightweight satellites into orbit is currently expected to be completed by 2024.
While the project (which goes by the name of Starlink) is on course to cost over $10 billion, Musk expects the revenues from the internet service to be quite lucrative. In 2015, he explained that this is all part of a longer-term plan to help fund a city on Mars: "This is intended to generate a significant amount of revenue, and help fund a city on Mars. So in looking in the long term, and saying what's needed to create a city on Mars, well, one thing's for sure: a lot of money. So we need things that will generate a lot of money."
Of course, things like this are prone to delays. Regardless of when this all becomes a reality, though, it is pretty exciting to think about the possibilities of a global high-speed internet network funding a future city on Mars. While we wait, here's some slow-motion footage of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch from earlier this month. It's rocket porn. Enjoy.