SpaceX’s new Starlink Aviation service brings 350 Mbps WiFi to private jets
SpaceX just announced its new Starlink Aviation service, which will allow high-speed in-flight internet that will allow users to make voice calls and stream videogames, according to the company.
SpaceX recently announced Starlink RV and Starlink Maritime. It's now taken the logical next step, expanding its Starlink service into the skies.
The new service promises speeds of up to 350 Mbps for airliners and is aimed mainly at private jet contractors. Earlier this year, SpaceX also announced a partnership with Hawaiian Airlines to bring free WiFi to its flights starting early next year.
High-speed, low-latency in-flight internet
Starlink Aviation will require users to install a specially-made "Aero Terminal" at the top of their aircraft so it can have an unobstructed view of the sky. The alternative to Starlink's traditional "Dishy", or satellite dish, is more discreet and looks like a small panel atop the aircraft.
On the FAQ page of its website, SpaceX says its Starlink Aviation service will be available worldwide. To date, SpaceX has lifted over 2,300 Starlink satellites to orbit, meaning passengers will have constant access to the internet even while on the move. The service will also still work while taxiing and landing, with SpaceX stressing this fact on Twitter, by writing "passengers will be able to access high-speed, low-latency internet from the moment they walk on their plane."
With Starlink, passengers will be able to access high-speed, low-latency internet from the moment they walk on their plane → null— SpaceX (@SpaceX) ) October 19, 2022
SpaceX claims the service will allow users to make video calls and even stream games online while flying, something that hasn't been possible with other in-flight internet services. On its website, SpaceX says customers will have to pay a $5,000 deposit to reserve their Starlink Aviation slot, and deliveries for the Starlink Aviation Aero Terminal kit will begin in 2023.
Starlink on the move
SpaceX has been rapidly expanding its Starlink service by bringing it to more countries — it's currently available in 32 countries worldwide and will come to many more next year. At the same time, it's also evolving its service by increasingly enabling its use as a service for moving vehicles.
Back in July, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized Starlink for airplanes, ships, and other vehicles including RVs. The Royal Caribbean Group had announced in June it will use Starlink on its cruise ships. Hawaiian Airlines also announced it will use the satellite internet service to provide free WiFi to its passengers.
Starlink has allowed numerous users to live an enviable off-grid lifestyle, such as facility management worker Steve Birch, who uses a 300-watt solar setup to power his internet 24/7. The satellite internet service has also allowed roughly 150,000 civilians and troops to connect daily in Ukraine since the country was invaded by Russia in February this year. Last week, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk caused a stir by suggesting the private space firm may stop funding the use of Starlink over Ukraine, though he backtracked when it became clear that the Pentagon would not step in to start funding the service.