SpaceX seeks FCC permission to test Starlink Internet on Gulfstream Jets

by Evelyn Arevalo November 18, 2020

SpaceX seeks FCC permission to test Starlink Internet on Gulfstream Jets

SpaceX is working towards offering Starlink satellite internet worldwide. With nearly 900 satellites already in orbit, the company rolled out broadband service in northern portions of the United States and southern Canada. The Starlink network will be comprised of over 4,400 satellites in low Earth orbit that will beam internet connection to user dish terminals.

Earlier this year, SpaceX told the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) the satelllites are capable of beaming low-latency broadband internet below 30 milliseconds with download speeds greater than 100 megabits per second. The Starlink service will not only benefit those living in rural areas, SpaceX officials state Starlink will also work aboard high-speed transportation vehicles, vessels navigating in the middle of the ocean, and even aircraft.

SpaceX submitted a new request with the FCC seeking permission to operate Starlink service aboard Gulfstream Jet planes, CNBC news first reported. "SpaceX seeks authority to test up to five user terminals electrically identical to those covered by its blanket license when mounted on a Gulfstream jet for a period of up to two years," SpaceX wrote in a filing to the FCC. "Specifically, 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). Such authority would enable SpaceX to obtain critical data regarding the operational performance of its user terminals and the SpaceX NGSO [non-geostationary orbit] system more broadly," the company wrote.

In fact, the Starlink network has been tested by the United States Air Force. The military signed a deal with the company to experiment with how space-based internet could enhance operations. U.S. Air Force Chief for Acquisition Dr. Will Roper, who serves as the principal adviser for technology research and development, shared the Starlink broadband network was tested aboard aircraft during the live-fire exercise this year, as part of the military’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). Roper said the Air Force connected Starlink to a “variety of air and terrestrial assets”. Starlink terminals are hooked to the cockpit of a Boeing (BA) KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft to assess the network’s performance while the airplanes fly. –“What I've seen from Starlink has been impressive and positive,” he told reporters in September. “They're cleverly engineered satellites cleverly deployed. So, there's a lot to learn from how they're designed and I think that there's a lot we can learn from them.”




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