Soon Starlink wifi on aircraft

The officials of SpaceX’s Starlink project are in talks with several airlines to offer high-speed Internet access in aircraft. Satellites and antennas that can support these services are currently under development.

On March 5, SpaceX approached the Federal Communications Commission to file a license application to operate Starlink terminals on “stations on the move,” a generic term. integration of cars, trucks, ships and other aircraft. Negotiations on this project are progressing. Starlink is currently in talks with several companies to send internet to their devices.

« We are in talks with several airlinesJonathan Hofeller, Starlink vice president and commercial sales at SpaceX, said at the Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit on Wednesday.

Antennas and satellites in development

A few days ago, another application filed with the FCC for permission to test a square antenna (a design commonly associated with aircraft antennas) in five US states. According to Jonathan Hofeller, like the consumer antennas (more rounded shape), all aircraft hardware will be designed and built by SpaceX. Once installed, these aerials can be linked to ground stations in the air to: communicate with Starlink satellites to deliver broadband.

« We have our own aero product in development… we have already done a few demonstrations so far and plan to finalize this product for installation on aircraft in the very near future« .

When it comes to flying over more distant regions, SpaceX needs intersatellite connections. In other words, satellites will have to ‘talk’ to each other via laser links. Again, there is progress. ” The next generation of our constellation, which is in operation, will have this inter-satellite connectivity‘, Hofeller assured.

starlink aircraft airport
Credit: iStock

In the meantime, SpaceX has already launched nearly 1,800 Starlink satellites of the 4,400 it needs to provide global high-speed Internet coverage. The project is still in beta testing phase, mainly in North America and the United Kingdom.

On the competitive side, in low-Earth orbit, Musk’s Starlink network will have to share the market with Amazon’s constellations of Jeff Bezos, which has not yet launched any of its 3,000 planned satellites, and OneWeb. Saved from bankruptcy last year by the British government and Indian telecommunications giant Bharti Global, the company has already launched 182 satellites of the roughly 640 planned.