SpaceX Gets FCC Approval To Test Starlink Dish Aboard Starship SN15 During Upcoming Flight

SpaceX Gets FCC Approval To Test Starlink Dish Aboard Starship SN15 During Upcoming Flight

Featured Image Source: @CarterGoode6 via Twitter

SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk to develop the spacecraft and technology that will enable humans to become a multi-planet species by colonizing Mars. SpaceX is also working to build the ‘world’s most advanced’ broadband satellite constellation called ‘Starlink’ to connect rural communities around the world. In the future, the network could help maintain communication with astronauts on the Red Planet. “Once we take people to Mars, they are going to need a capability to communicate,” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell told TIME reporters last year, “In fact, I think it will be even more critical to have a constellation like Starlink around Mars. And then, of course, you need to connect the two planets as well,” she said.

Musk envisions providing Starlink service aboard the Starship spacecraft in transit to the Moon and Mars. The Starlink network of thousands of satellites will first connect the entire Earth to high-speed internet, then engineers will figure out how to expand the network across the solar system. During the 2020 Mars Society Convention, Musk shared that a variation of the Starlink network could be set up to beam internet to the Martian surface."...You just need a big laser coming from Earth," he said, "Probably want it to be in orbit so it doesn't get atmospheric diffraction or attenuation. You want to go from a big laser from Earth orbit to Mars orbit and then you're going to need some relay stations for when Mars is on the other side of the Sun. So, you can't just shoot a laser through the sun," Musk explained.

SpaceX is developing the spacecraft that could launch the first astronauts to the Red Planet in South Texas. The company will soon test the Starship SN15 prototype at the launch pad where the vehicle is undergoing pre-flight preparations to conduct a 10-kilometer flight test above Boca Chica Beach. Starship SN15 is the first vehicle equipped with a Starlink dish antenna attached to its outer stainless-steel shell, as pictured above. The dish looks like the one customers purchase to connect to the internet service. Engineers plan to test the phased-array antenna dish during SN15's upcoming flight. The test flight could take place today, April 30, sometime between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Central Time. However, this date can change depending on whether the vehicle is ready to fly and if weather conditions allow it. There’s storms in the Gulf Coast that may affect today’s planned launch attempt. This article will be updated when a launch date is officially confirmed. UPDATE April 30, 12:53 p.m. Central Time: Boca Chica Beach road closures were canceled, indicating that there will Not be a launch attempt today.  

SpaceX got approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to test the Starlink broadband service aboard Starship SN15 in-flight. The "Experimental Authorization" license will allow SpaceX to operate a single Starlink dish (Earth station) aboard Starship into a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet above Boca Chica Beach, which is equivalent to around 12.5-kilometers. The temporary license will be effective for a 60-day period starting on April 28th to June 28th. “These operations will only occur on the ground or during test flights of durations not to exceed eight minutes. This user terminal will be electrically identical to earth stations already authorized under SpaceX's blanket earth station authorization as well as its pending application for experimental authorization to operate a limited number of user terminals aboard aircraft,” SpaceX told the FCC. Testing Starlink internet communication aboard Starship SN15 is a good step towards developing the network to serve reliably aboard moving vehicles. Musk recently said that they also have plans to provide Starlink service aboard moving vehicles such as: aircraft, ships at sea, large trucks and RVs. With approximately 1,500 internet-beaming Starlink satellites in orbit, the company is already accepting service preorders via Starlink.com. You can watch SpaceX Starship progress Live 24/7 in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube. 

 

WATCH IT LIVE! 

 

 

 

 Featured Image Source: @CarterGoode6 via Twitter

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn 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.

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