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SpaceX

Starlink Satellite to Test Internet Network Inflight with a Gulfstream Jet

  • After sending a request to the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX is looking to further their testing of its Starlink satellite internet by connecting the network to an aircraft inflight
  • In a Nov. 6 FCC filing the company wrote, “SpaceX seeks experimental authority for operation of one user terminal aboard each of up to five private jets while they are (1) on the ground at an airport, and (2) in flight over the United States (including its territories and territorial waters).”
  • SpaceX made a previous request similar to this one two months ago, asking the FCC to test Starlink with the ships the company uses to land its rocket boosters.

On November 6, Elon Musk’s space company sent a request to the FCC asking if SpaceX could implement their Starlink satellite terminals “on a Gulfstream jet for a period of up to two years.”

Musk’s SpaceX would like to further expand their testing of its Starlink satellite internet by connecting the network to the aircraft, the company revealed. In the Nov. 6 filing the company wrote, “SpaceX seeks experimental authority for operation of one user terminal aboard each of up to five private jets while they are (1) on the ground at an airport, and (2) in flight over the United States (including its territories and territorial waters).”

The user terminals are relatively small devices that rest on the ground and connect to the company’s satellite internet network. Early beta testing has already begun for the user terminals. What Musk described as a “UFO on a stick”, the user terminals that are ground mounted are presumed to have a different design than those that are aircraft mounted. Though, the FCC request described the aircraft mounted terminals as “electrically identical”.

SpaceX made a similar request two months ago to the FCC asking to test Starlink with the ships the company uses to land its rocket boosters. The request sought to add 10 Starlink user terminals to its vessels. That request is still labeled as pending.

In October, SpaceX launched a public beta test of Starlink with service priced at $99 per month. Starlink is SpaceX’s vision to build an interconnected internet network using thousands of satellites. Delivering high-speed internet to anywhere — globally.

While they have not launched enough satellites to cover the globe, SpaceX has, so far, launched 900 Starlink satellites — only a fraction of what is needed for the intended global coverage. Services are already being provided where there is satellite coverage, including here in the northwest United States. And SpaceX continues to work with a variety of organizations in rural regions where its Starlink satellites currently orbit, such as Washington state.

SpaceX has claimed that it will cost $10 billion or more to build this progressive tech system. But based on their projected annual revenue, the company’s leadership is confident that Starlink will produce more than 10 times the revenue of its rocket business. Generating as much as $30 billion per year.

 

Kc Cartwright
Written By

Kc Cartwright is a freelance writer and avid outdoorsman. She is a space enthusiast with a passion for exploring life on other planets, as well as space travel.

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