In November of 2018, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorised the rocket company SpaceX, owned by the entrepreneur Elon Musk, to launch a fleet of 7,518 satellites to complete SpaceX’s ambitious scheme to provide global satellite broadband services to every corner of the Earth.
The satellites will operate at a height of approximately 210 miles, and irradiate the Earth with extremely high frequencies between 37.5 GHz and 42 GHz. This fleet will be in addition to a smaller SpaceX fleet of 4,425 satellites, already authorized earlier in the year by the FCC, which will orbit the Earth at a height of approximately 750 miles and is set to bathe us in frequencies between 12 GHz and 30 GHz. The grand total of SpaceX satellites is thus projected to reach just under 12,000.
There are at present approximately two thousand fully functioning satellites orbiting the Earth. Some beam down commercial GPS (or “SatNav”), some provide TV, some provide mobile phone services, and some bounce radar back and forth to produce images for meteorologists and military surveillance. The Earth is thus already comprehensively irradiated from outer space.
But the new SpaceX fleets will constitute a massive increase in the number of satellites in the skies above us, and a correspondingly massive increase in the radiation reaching the Earth from them. The SpaceX satellite fleet is, however, just one of several that are due to be launched in the next few years, all serving the same purpose of providing global broadband services. Other companies, including Boeing, One Web and Spire Global are each launching their own smaller fleets, bringing the total number of projected new broadband satellites to around 20,000 – every one of them dedicated to irradiating the Earth at similar frequencies (fig. 1). 1
… what is really driving it is the creation of the conditions within which electronic or “artificial” intelligence will be able to assume an ever greater presence in our lives.
Why is there this sudden flurry of activity? The new satellite fleets are contributing to a concerted global effort to “upgrade” the electromagnetic environment of the Earth. The upgrade is commonly referred to as 5G, or fifth generation wireless network. It has become customary in tech circles to talk about the introduction of 5G as involving the creation of a new global “electronic ecosystem”. It amounts to geo-engineering on a scale never before attempted. While this is being sold to the public as an enhancement of the quality of video streaming for media and entertainment, what is really driving it is the creation of the conditions within which electronic or “artificial” intelligence will be able to assume an ever greater presence in our lives.