SpaceX plans to launch over 4,400 Starlink satellites to connect the world to high-speed internet service. So far, the company has launched around 1,740 satellites and continues to deploy its broadband constellation on a monthly basis. SpaceX founder Elon Musk recently shared that the Starlink network already provides internet service to over 69,420 users in 12 countries. He expects to connect half-a-million Starlink users who pre-ordered the broadband service via Starlink.com within the next 12 months.
SpaceX has permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate up to 1 million Starlink dish antennas nationwide. The company filed a request to increase that amount to 5 million. Starlink will not only connect users at home, work, or school, SpaceX aims to connect users aboard moving vehicles. On Friday, June 30, SpaceX submitted a new filing with the FCC requesting to test Starlink aboard road vehicles, sea-going vessels, and aircraft that will operate in Hawthorne, California, and Redmond, Washington State.
SpaceX is already testing the Starlink network aboard its company’s Gulfstream jets and Falcon 9 autonomous droneship vessels at sea, among other vehicles. Now, the company seeks to expand the license to continue testing the system in more locations. “The Commission has previously granted experimental authority to test these same user terminals at various locations within the United States, including on vehicles, vessels, and aircraft,” the company said, “To expand its assessment of the end-to-end capabilities of its satellite system, SpaceX seeks authorization to expand these operations to include special temporary authority to operate user terminals on board vehicles and vessels near Hawthorne, CA and Redmond, WA. These operations would occur on vehicles within 250 km [kilometers] of each city as well as aboard seagoing vessels in U.S. territorial waters within 250 km,” SpaceX wrote in its application to the FCC.
Testing the phased-array dish Starlink antenna aboard these vehicles “would enable SpaceX to obtain critical data regarding the operational performance of its user terminals” and satellite constellation “more broadly.” If approved, SpaceX plans to “operate no more than twenty user terminals under this experimental authorization at any given time.” This new application was submitted to the FCC after the company requested the Commission in a separate application to receive authorization to test Starlink aboard Starship’s debut orbital flight, read more in the previous TESMANIAN article linked below.
SpaceX Plans To Test Starlink Internet Aboard Starship's Debut Orbital Flighthttps://t.co/cZTzOyh2HS— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) July 3, 2021
About the Author
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.