KEY POINTS

  • SpaceX is planning a new project for Starlink
  • This time it might involve a mobile satellite internet network
  • SpaceX filed for the project's application at the FCC

SpaceX is looking into connecting moving vehicles to its satellite internet network Starlink based on a recently uncovered request the company filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not long after Elon Musk tweeted "Starlink Mini," which could deliver mobile internet connectivity.

The FCC application spotted by Teslarati seeks to obtain a "blanket license" giving authority to end-user earth stations to be released as Vehicle-mounted Earth Stations (VMESs), Earth Stations on Vessels (ESVs), and Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (“ESAAs”). These stations, also referred to as Earth Stations in Motion (ESIMs), could deliver internet connectivity to moving vehicles like cars, ships, or even aircraft.

The application also seeks the FCC to authorize the company to "deploy and operate" these earth stations as VMES "throughout the U.S. and its territories, as ESVs in the U.S. territorial waters and international waters all over the world and as ESAAs on U.S.-registered aircraft operating worldwide and non-U.S.-registered aircraft operating in U.S. airspace." Starlink's idea on moving vehicles is the extension of the core services of the satellite internet system, the company notes.

In a letter to FCC via CNBC, SpaceX director of satellite policy David Goldman wrote that the project would greatly benefit the public interest. This is because "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."

Unfortunately, SpaceX did not mention in the filing if user terminals for moving vehicles will sport a different design to the dishes being released to Starlink customers these days. However, it notes that every Earth Station in Motion or ESIM is “electrically identical to its previously authorized consumer user terminals,” which includes “mountings that allow them to be installed on vehicles, vessels, and aircraft.”

The company's request addresses a restriction on the satellite internet network. If SpaceX gets the FCC's nod and other regulating bodies involved, this Starlink endeavor would be beneficial to a lot of entities. One of which is Elon Musk's Tesla electric vehicle and energy company.

SpaceX has launched over 1,100 satellites for Starlink. The company started releasing a public beta to customers in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada for Starlink satellite internet network at $99 per month.