Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and a Mars colonization evangelist, may face a big snag in his dream to bathe the globe in high-speed internet: the Chinese military. On November 15, SpaceX asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to launch 4,425 internet-providing satellites. That is hundreds more satellites than currently orbit Earth, including the dead ones. But as far back as January 2015, when Musk first debuted his global internet project at a new SpaceX satellite factory in Seattle, he noted how China could pose a significant hurdle for his plans. The Chinese government would have to agree to let SpaceX build antenna dishes, or ground links, to send and receive data to and from the company’s spacecraft. But that nation routes internet access for its 1.37 billion inhabitants through “the Great Firewall,” a censorship technology that blocks foreign news, mentions of citizen uprisings (like the Tiananmen Square Massacre), or anything else Chinese officials don’t like on the web. “Obviously, any given country can say it’s illegal to have a ground link. […] And from our standpoint we could conceivably continue to broadcast,” Musk said during the event. “I mean, I’m hopeful that we can structure agreements… Read full this story
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