SpaceX VP says Starlink is almost ready to revolutionize in-flight internet
Speaking on a panel at an aviation conference, a senior SpaceX sales executive says that the company is in talks with “several…airlines” to provide in-flight internet to passengers with its Starlink satellite constellation.
Unlike all current in-flight connectivity (IFC) providers, which rely on a handful of satellites in geostationary orbits ~36,000 km (~22,500 mi) above the Earth, SpaceX’s Starlink constellation is currently made up of ~1600 spacecraft just 550 km (340 mi) up – known as low Earth orbit (LEO). Aside from guaranteeing that any uncontrolled spacecraft or debris reenter in just a few years instead of millennia, Starlink’s home in LEO also means that the network can offer far superior latency (also known as ping).
Being more than 50 times closer to the Earth’s surface also makes it much easier for SpaceX to deliver far more bandwidth to a single vehicle. In simple terms, once the Starlink network is decently reliable and its aviation-optimized ‘conformal’ antennas have been refined, qualified, and certified by the FCC and FAA, conditions could quickly become very uncomfortable for incumbents like Gogo and Viasat. …
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