SpaceX Requests To Test Starlink Terminal Onboard Starship During Flight Test

SpaceX Requests To Test Starlink Terminal Onboard Starship During Flight Test

Featured Image Source: @CarterGoode6 via Twitter

SpaceX is preparing to conduct the next high-altitude Starship flight test at its Starbase facility located in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. The Starship SN15 prototype was transported to the launch pad last week and is already undergoing pre-flight testing. On April 9, SpaceX conducted an ambient proof test of the stainless-steel vehicle, the next test is expected to be a cryogenic proof test in which SN15 will be filled with sub-chilled liquid nitrogen to assess its strength. As Starship SN15 is undergoing preparations, SpaceX submitted a new request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking to test a Starlink terminal onboard Starship during the upcoming flight test. With approximately 1,443 internet-beaming Starlink satellites orbiting Earth, SpaceX is already providing beta service in some regions in the United States and abroad.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk envisions utilizing Starlink internet communication onboard moving vehicles, like aircraft, vessels at sea, large trucks and RV’s, even onboard the Starship spacecraft ‘in transit to Mars.’ This past week, a photographer, @CarterGoode6 via Twitter, captured a photo of what appears to be a Starlink dish attached to Starship SN15, Musk ‘liked’ the image on Twitter, shown below. However, he did not confirm whether the white round structure on Starship is in fact a dish terminal attachment. The new FCC filing the company submitted this month states the company plans to test a Starlink dish as Starship soars into the sky. “SpaceX requests Special Temporary Authority to operate a single user terminal within 5 km [kilometers] of Boca Chica Village, TX (26.00°N, -97.16°W) on an experimental basis at altitudes not to exceed 12.5 km. The authority requested herein will be sharply limited in duration: SpaceX requests to operate under this STA for a period of only 60 days, beginning on April 20 …” SpaceX wrote to the FCC in the filing. “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,” the company wrote. If approved, SpaceX will test the Starlink network during Starship SN15's upcoming flight. The vehicle will undergo a series of tests this week in preparation for a 10-kilometer flight test above Boca Chica Beach later this month. You can watch SpaceX South Texas Starship Launch Site operations Live 24/7 in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.




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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