So far both SpaceX and OneWeb have only used their internet satellites for testing (or tweeting, in Musk’s case), but SpaceX says it will have enough birds in the air to start providing internet service by the summer. OneWeb says its constellation will offer limited service by the end of the year.Space-based internet is nothing new, of course. Companies like Viasat, HughesNet, and Iridium have been raining bits and bytes on Earth for decades. But the next generation of internet satellites promise to be far faster than their predecessors and to make memes accessible anywhere on the planet by rethinking extraterrestrial networking.No matter who you’re getting satellite internet from, the basics of the system are the same. A user sends packets of data from an antenna at their home toward a satellite, which relays these packets to a ground station back down on Earth. At this point, the spacefaring data travels along the global internet’s fiber optic cables just like any other data. Once it reaches its destination, say a Google cloud server , a new packet of data is sent back to the ground station, beamed up to the satellite, and then beamed back to the user’s home.