SpaceX is working on an antenna that will associate vehicles like semi-trucks and RVs to its satellite internet network, CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet on Monday.
Elon Musk explained that the antenna won’t be for “connecting Tesla cars to Starlink,” saying that the client’s “terminal is much too big.”
“This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs,” Musk said.
Elon Musk was reacting to CNBC’s announcing that SpaceX requested approval from the Federal Communications Commission to start conveying antenna for its Starlink service on “moving vehicles.”
Starlink is the organization’s capital-intensive project to build an interconnected internet network with a large number of satellites, referred to in the space industry as a constellation, intended to deliver high-speed internet to buyers anyplace on the planet.
SpaceX director of satellite policy David Goldman wrote in a letter to the FCC on Friday that “the volume of traffic flowing over the world’s networks has exploded,” adding that “no longer are users willing to forego connectivity while on the move.”
The application depicts SpaceX’s plans for Earth Stations in Motion (ESIMs) for automobiles, ships, and aircraft. SpaceX said it is “seek[ing] authority to deploy and operate these earth stations… throughout the United States and its territories… in the territorial waters of the United States and throughout international waters worldwide, and… on US-registered aircraft operating worldwide and non-US-registered aircraft operating in US airspace.”
“This application would serve the public interest by authorizing a new class of ground-based components for SpaceX’s satellite system that will expand the range of broadband capabilities available to moving vehicles throughout the United States and to moving vessels and aircraft worldwide,” Goldman wrote.
Internet users are no longer “willing to forego connectivity while on the move, whether driving a truck across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a US port or while on a domestic or international flight,” SpaceX said.
The application said that vehicle-mounted terminals will be like the Starlink satellite dishes intended for home-Internet service, for certain key contrasts.
Elon Musk’s space organization a year ago asked the FCC for approval to direct experimental testing on private jets and with its maritime fleet of vessels. Yet, Friday’s request is for a lot more extensive “blanket license” for operations.
SpaceX noticed that the FCC’s principles “do not require applicants to submit a maximum number of user terminals to be deployed,” so the organization didn’t show the number of vehicle terminals it intends to build.
The ESIM terminals could be sent “on passenger cars or pleasure boats,” SpaceX said in a radiation risk analysis submitted with its application, even though Elon Musk’s tweet appears to negate that.
ESIM terminals may likewise be conveyed on “the masts of ships or the tops of semi-trucks that are not generally accessible to the public.” The gadgets “are compliant and will not result in exposure levels exceeding the applicable radiation hazard limits,” SpaceX said.
SpaceX’s application noticed that it as of now has FCC permission to send up to 1 million client terminals in the US. The requested license permitting terminals on moving vehicles evidently would not expand the total number of terminals. However, SpaceX has independently asked the FCC for permission to build its permitted number from terminals from 1 million to 5 million.
While Starlink home-Internet service can be set up by clients themselves, that may not be the situation with Starlink for moving vehicles. SpaceX said that it “will ensure the installation of ESIM terminals on vehicles and vessels by qualified installers who have an understanding of the antenna’s radiation environment and the measures best suited to maximize protection of the general public and persons operating the vehicle and equipment.”
The ESIMs will send in the 14.0-14.5 GHz band and get in the 10.7-12.7 GHz band, and they will follow spectrum-sharing rules to avoid interference with other spectrum clients, SpaceX said.
SpaceX is now doing combating Dish Network over Dish’s claim that Starlink could interfere with satellite TV and 5G mobile services that may eventually be allowed in the 12 GHz range.
Before Elon Musk discouraged the idea, a Teslarati article conjectured that Starlink terminals would be a natural fit for Tesla cars. “Tesla’s electric cars are connected to the Internet for features like video streaming and over-the-air updates, with the company even offering a ‘Premium Connectivity’ service as an option today,” the Teslarati article said. “With Starlink’s capability to connect to the Internet in a moving vehicle, Tesla would no longer have to rely on existing mobile Internet providers for its cars.”
Elon Musk tweeted in October 2020 that Starlink could be conveyed on fast-moving vehicles. “Everything is slow to a phased array antenna,” he composed at that point.