SpaceX Starlink Seeking to Provide Airlines with Satellite Internet

SpaceX Starlink Seeking to Provide Airlines with Satellite Internet

SpaceX Starlink is about to change commercial airlines’ internet connectivity nexus for the better. The satellite internet company’s founder and CEO, Elon Musk, said in a recent post on Twitter, that talks are now ongoing with commercial airlines about the possibility of utilizing Starlink for in-flight internet connectivity.

Commercial airlines sector is one area that is still open for faster internet service, and Musk believes Starlink will provide the needed internet connectivity. He was quite optimistic about the idea, stating that Starlink should provide “low latency, ~half-gigabit” connectivity in the air. Teslarati has the report.

Eyeing airline services is seen as part of Starlink’s move to increase its customer-base to up to 500,000 before the end of the year. Musk said in August that “we are on our way to having a few hundred thousand users, possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months.”

Starlink has been shooting up more satellites to meet the 12-months target, and has been reaching out to governments and corporations around the world for partnership.

Starlink, which is SpaceX’s internet wing, is designed to bring internet connectivity to even the most remote areas of the globe and stands as one of the private space firm’s most ambitious projects. Starlink aims to set up a constellation of satellites around the planet, which should pave the way for global internet connectivity.

Musk’s quest to deliver a high speed global internet has seen an uptick since early this year, with SpaceX shooting up more satellites to orbit.

“Yes, we are talking to airlines about installing Starlink. Please let them know if you want it on your airliner.”

So far, SpaceX has launched 1,740 Starlink satellites, and the program currently has about 100,000 users in 14 countries. Starlink is still in public beta, however, with the service being priced at a rather premium $99 per month, on top of a $499 fee for the actual satellite kit. That being said, Elon Musk has noted in September that Starlink should come out of its beta phase in October 2021.

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time that the idea of using Starlink for aircraft has been mentioned by SpaceX executives. Back in June, SpaceX Vice President Jonathan Hofeller also noted that the private space company is “in talks with several airlines” about adding Starlink in-flight WiFi. Hofeller remarked that SpaceX has already done some demonstrations of the technology, and it is looking to finalize the product in the near future.

“We have our own aviation product in development … we’ve already done some demonstrations to date and [are] looking to get that product finalized to be put on aircraft in the very near future,” Hofeller said.

The SpaceX executive added that Starlink’s “global mesh” of satellites could provide faster internet to airline passengers. “Starlink provides a global mesh (so that) airlines flying underneath that global mesh have connectivity anywhere they go. Passengers and customers want a great experience that (geosynchronous satellite internet) systems simply cannot provide,” Hofeller added.

But it’s not certain whether providing internet connectivity will help SpaceX reach its 500,000-users one year goal.

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