SpaceX prepares for Air Force test connecting an aircraft to its Starlink satellite internet

Edwards Air Force Base is seen in California’s Mojave Desert on this photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station.


Elon Musk’s SpaceX is getting ready to additional test its Starlink satellite internet in an illustration for the U.S. Air Force, the corporate revealed in a current request to the Federal Communications Commission.

“SpaceX seeks to make minor modifications to its experimental authorization for additional test activities undertaken with the federal government,” the corporate wrote to the FCC in a submitting on Thursday.

“The tests are designed to demonstrate the ability to transmit to and receive information from (1) two stationary ground sites and (2) one airborne aircraft at one location, and would add to these (3) limited testing from a moving vehicle on the ground,” SpaceX stated.

Starlink is the corporate’s capital-intensive challenge to construct an interconnected internet community with hundreds of satellites, recognized within the area trade as a constellation, designed to ship high-speed internet to shoppers wherever on the planet. 

SpaceX disclosed that for this test it’s working with Ball Aerospace, a protection and area contractor, which is able to present the antennas crucial for connecting Starlink satellites to an aircraft.

SpaceX famous that Ball particularly manufactures “conformal antennas for tactical aircraft” – that means navy jets.

Musk’s firm additionally famous that the Starlink test is underneath the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program, for which Ball was awarded a $9.7 million contract in August. SpaceX highlighted that the FCC has beforehand approved experimental Starlink assessments, together with prior Air Force testing relationship again to early 2018.

“The Commission previously granted SpaceX an experimental authorization for activities undertaken with the federal government to demonstrate the ability of SpaceX’s [non-geostationary orbit] system to transmit and receive information between both fixed sites on the ground and airborne earth stations aboard moving aircraft,” the corporate stated in its submitting with the FCC.

SpaceX, Ball Aerospace, and the Air Force Research Laboratory didn’t reply to CNBC’s requests for remark.

Upcoming testing

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