Tech & Science Internet in the plane: Spacex wants to bring StarLink on board

14:55  10 june  2021
14:55  10 june  2021 Source:   t3n.de

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Spacex works with high pressure to make its StarLink connections usable for international air traffic. Currently it hapes hardware on both sides of the connection.

Starlink von SpaceX soll bald auch Flugzeuge mit Internetzugang versorgen.  © Potovizard / Shutterstock.com StarLink by Spacex should soon provide aircraft with Internet access.

So far, airlines mainly use the service providers Intelsat and Viasat, if you want to realize Internet connections on board your aircraft. Both work with geostationary satellites whose latency values ​​are too bad for responsive use.

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at least Viasat wants to change this now and plans a new geostationary satellite trio, which is to be supported by a 300 units strong Leo network. Leo stands for low-earth orbit and refers to small satellites, which circle in low orbits around the earth. StarLink of Spacex works exclusively in this way. Therefore, it is obvious that Elon Musk's space company is interested in the business with the commercial airlines. After all, the company already has a fleet of around 1,800 Leo satellites in orbit and works continuously at their expansion.

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Last week, Spacex has applied for the US regulatory authority FCC approval for testing a new send and receiving unit. Their most significant difference

for the previous unit

is that the antenna is arranged square. This form has proven itself especially in aviation. Spacex wants to test the new design in five states. Even in March, Spacex had requested an application for the approval of mobile StarLink units. Among them, the company understands transmit and reception equipment, which are movably used, for example on ships, in trucks or just in aircraft.

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- Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

March 8, 2021

That the use in Teslas could be meant, Elon Musk had deviated quickly. But the units are just too big, he tweeted.

For commercial air traffic, significantly expanded possibilities would arise compared to geostationary solutions to make Internet access accessible to passengers. However, there is a serious hook that lets the speedy availability of a flyer StarLink remain in some distance.

Therefore, StarLink is so far for airlines inapcitation

The StarLink constellation is not yet able to communicate

from satellite to satellite

. This should work in the future using laser technology. So far in the orbit shot satellites, the technique did not install. So StarLink is currently reliant on the distribution of the data streams per earth station. This in turn is no problem at eleven kilometers for an airplane. But it will be problematic, but where the plane are out of the reach of earth stations - about the sea. The entire long-distance air traffic is for the time being for Spacex. The problem is tightened by the fact that the construction of the earth stations is still in full swing and by far non-nationwide.

Even the next generation of the StarLink satellites will have laser connectivity, promised Spacex Manager Jonathan Hofeller on the occasion of the online specialist conference

"Connected Aviation Intelligence"

on Wednesday. When concrete products would be introduced for aircraft, farmers could not say for demand. He hopes "rather sooner than later."

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