SpaceX Plans To Work With Airlines To Provide Starlink Wi-Fi On Commercial Flights

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Arevalo October 14, 2021

SpaceX Plans To Work With Airlines To Provide Starlink Wi-Fi On Commercial Flights

Featured Image Source: Tesmanian.com / @JaneidyEve via Twitter

SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband constellation will be capable of beaming internet service to passengers travelling aboard aircraft. “We are talking to airlines about installing Starlink. Please let them know if you want it on your airliner,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Thursday in response to a Twitter user, “Low latency ~half gigabit connectivity in the air!” he added. 

SpaceX representatives previously shared that they have plans to work with airlines to provide Starlink Wi-Fi on commercial flights. During the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit that took place in June, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink and commercial sales Jonathan Hofeller shared that the company is in discussions with multiple airlines to connect airplane passengers to Starlink Wi-Fi. “We’re in talks with several of the airlines,” Hofeller said. “We have our own aviation product in development… we’ve already done some demonstrations to date, and looking to get that product finalized to be put on aircraft in the very near future,” he said. Hofeller also shared with the panel that the Starlink antenna used aboard airplanes will feature technology similar to its consumer terminals “with obvious enhancements for aviation connectivity.” Hofeller also shared that Starlink will create like “a global mesh,” that will enable aircraft “flying underneath that global mesh [to] have connectivity anywhere they go.”

SpaceX would need regulatory approval to provide Starlink Wi-Fi to aircraft, the service “has to be certified for each aircraft type,” Musk shared earlier this year, “Focusing on 737 & A320, as those serve most number of people, with development testing on Gulfstream,” he stated.

Before this announcement, the company said that the phased-array dish antenna that customers currently use features technology more advanced than what is aboard fighter jets. SpaceX also aims to beam internet service to cruise ships out in the ocean and also enable adventurers to take Starlink service wherever they go aboard RV’s.  Starlink could go mobile in some regions sometime in 2022, when SpaceX launches more internet-beaming satellites to orbit to create a more reliable network and expand coverage per region. To date, SpaceX has launched around 1,791 satellites out of 20,000 that may comprise the network.

The company’s main priority is to first provide broadband in rural communities where terrestrial internet service is unreliable or unavailable. Starlink currently serves over 100,000 users who reside in: the United States, Canada, Chile, United Kingdom, France, Austria, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. Musk recently said that they plan to rollout Starlink service “nationwide” across the United States by end of October –“Note, still limited by peak number of users in same area,” he stated, “This will improve as more satellites are launched.”

 Featured Image Source: Tesmanian.com / @JaneidyEve via Twitter





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