Aircraft around the world will soon experience SpaceX‘s unique, high-speed satellite internet, Starlink.
1. Starlink Aviation
Following the success of Starlink, developing low-latency broadband internet to meet the demand of consumers across the globe, SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk launched in October Starlink Aviation, a new branch of the satellite internet service that will make the network available on planes.
With Starlink, passengers will be able to access high-speed, low-latency internet from the moment they walk on their plane.SpaceX
Starlink currently has more than 3,000 satellites in orbit, designed to reach customers in every corner of the Earth. This dominant positioning of satellites enables Wi-Fi signals to reach any aircraft regardless of position or altitude. The new service Starlink Aviation is meant to offer internet speeds of up to 350 mbps, which is a huge upgrade from the current inflight Wi-Fi options, at 100 mbps, giving passengers the ability to make video calls, play games, send texts, among others.
“Internet in airplanes will feel same as if you were accessing Internet at home,” said Musk on Twitter.
The groundwork for Starlink Aviation was laid in June 2022, when the US Federal Communicatons Commission gave SpaceX permission to begin selling Starlink terminals that work on moving vehicles. This development was followed by the company’s announcement of Starlink Maritime for boats, moving on to planes.
2. Upgrading aircraft
In order to be fully equipped and functional, planes will have to be modified to accommodate the Starlink Aviation hardware, which requires a special certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The airplane’s owner or operator will need to request a supplemental type certificate from the FAA in order to modify the plane from its original design.
Last April, SpaceX announced a partnership with Hawaiian Airlines and JSX to provide wireless high-speed internet on flights for free. Hawaiian Airlines and air carrier JSX will soon offer high-speed internet connection at 30,000 feet.
We’re proud to be the 1st major US airline to select SpaceX’s Starlink, which will provide the best internet connectivity in the air — free for our guests. Stay connected from the comfort of your seat. This is the future of flying.Hawaiian Airlines
SpaceX is planning to start delivering Starlink Aviation hardware to airlines around mid-2023 and is currently taking reservations for $5,000. According to the space company, subscription costs between $12,500 and $25,000 per month, depending on an airline’s needs, plus a one-time hardware fee of $150,000. Customers will have to pay someone to install the system or do it themselves, as SpaceX doesn’t offer that service.