ELON MUSK'S SpaceX will deploy 4,425 super-fast internet satellites in space by 2019.
Earlier this month, the firm filed a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) document outlining plans to send thousands of internet satellites into space. However, it failed to give a timeline.
This has since changed, with SpaceX president of satellite government affairs Patricia Cooper confirming to CNBC that the company is currently working on a prototype.
Cooper said that SpaceX is in the process of testing the prototype to ensure that it has the ability to orbit in space successfully.
Based on the results of the test, the first satellite will be launched by the end of the year, and a second will be sent to space in the "early months" of 2018.
Speaking at the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology on last wednesday, Cooper added the space agency will continue to test and launch these satellites over the next few years.
The aim is to get most of them in space by 2019, but this process is likely to continue to the mid 2020s: "The remaining satellites in the constellation will be launched in phases through 2024," she said.
SpaceX is planning to put more than 4,400 of these satellites into space to speed up broadband in the US. They'll travel around space in 83 orbital planes, ranging at altitudes of between 1,110 KM and 1,325 KM.
Musk has ambitious plans to improve broadband connectivity in the US. The firm said speeds lag behind many other developed countries, and it wants to change this.
It envisages a "mesh network", which will consist of the SpaceX satellites. They'll be able to bring internet to rural areas in the US, the firm said.
"In the future, these satellites would provide additional broadband capacity to the SpaceX system and further reduce latency where populations are heavily concentrated," added Cooper.
Announcement comes as streaming overtakes CD sales for the first time
Stop us if you've heard this one before...
Nicky Morgan MP wants to get the FCA involved
Shipments could have fallen as much as 50 per cent in Q2