Today, June 30, SpaceX won approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use Starlink Internet aboard airplanes, ships, and road vehicles. The long-awaited feature will enable high-speed mobile Starlink service across the country. SpaceX currently operates around 2,700 internet-beaming satellites in Low Earth Orbit that provide service to over 500,000 subscribers across 36 countries. With approval for Starlink use aboard moving vehicles, SpaceX will enter the next phase of Internet connectivity that will enable users to access the web from everywhere.
"Authorizing a new class of [customer] terminals for SpaceX's satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight," stated the FCC International Bureau Chief Tom Sullivan in the authorization document.
SpaceX already has contracts with airlines to provide Starlink Internet aboard commercial aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines andr JSX charter flights will provide Starlink Wi-Fi to passengers while flying. "We're obsessive about the passenger experience," Jonathan Hofeller, Starlink's commercial sales chief, said at an aviation conference earlier this month. "We're going to be on planes here very shortly, so hopefully passengers are wowed by the experience."
Delta Airlines is in discussions with SpaceX to provide Starlink to passengers. According to Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian, the commercial airline company is in discussions with SpaceX representatives who are collaborating to conduct “exploratory testing” of the internet technology. The airline did not provide more details.
This month, Starlink user antenna terminals were installed aboard one Royal Caribbean cruise ship to provide Internet to vacationers in the middle of the ocean, where internet is usually unreliable or unavailable. The FCC's authorization includes connecting to cruise ships and road vehicles like semitrucks and RVs. The company released an add-on service called "Starlink for RVs" in May. "Starlink for RVs provides the ability to pause and un-pause service at any time and is billed in one-month increments, allowing users to customize their service to their individual travel needs," said SpaceX. The pay-as-you-go Starlink service costs $135 USD per month and the Starlink kit costs $599 USD. “At this time, there is no waitlist — all orders will be shipped shortly after the order is placed,” SpaceX's support page says, "... supply is subject to network and equipment availability.” Visit SpaceX's official website Starlink.com for more information.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.