SpaceX is seeking regulatory approval from the FCC to connect its Starlink satellites to trucks, shipping boats, aircraft, and RV’s. This request marks SpaceX’s biggest step yet toward connecting Starlink to the automotive sector, a step which could significantly expand its business.
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.”
“Granting 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,” SpaceX told the FCC. 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 FCC filing asked for “a blanket license authorizing operation” of Starlink terminals on so-called Earth Stations in Motion — an umbrella term for cars, trucks, maritime vessels, and aircraft. “No longer are users willing to forego connectivity while on the move, whether driving a truck across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight,” the filing read.
As for smaller passenger vehicles such as cars, they may have to wait. “Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted. “This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs.”