SpaceX looks to expand Starlink broadband internet with a high-performance, ruggedized...

Humza

Posts: 896   +164
Staff member
In a nutshell: SpaceX has filed an application with the FCC, requesting a blanket license for its 'high performance Earth stations in motion' or ESIMs that will help expand Starlink's broadband internet to moving vehicles like cars, boats and planes. The newer dishes will also come with improved connectivity features and a ruggedized build to withstand harsh environments.

Considering Elon Musk's plans to launch Starlink globally as soon as this month, it's not surprising to see SpaceX preparing a newer, improved Starlink dish for rapid expansion of the broadband service for users on the move.

In a recent filing with the FCC, SpaceX notes that its new high-performance Starlink dish will work with higher gain and lower transmit power, a higher scan angle (minimum elevation of 25 degrees), and will come with rugged features for continued operation in harsh environments. The company had already applied for using its next-gen dish tech on moving vehicles (cars, boats and planes) a couple of months ago, though a 'ruggedized' version wasn't specified at the time.

During Starlink's beta, a dish went into thermal shutdown for a user in Arizona, keeping them offline for 7 hours as the temperature hit 122F/50C. Although no temperature limit has been specified for the newer model, SpaceX says the dish will be able to handle greater extremes of heat/cold, feature improved snow/ice melt capabilities, and will withstand a greater number of thermal cycles.

SpaceX hasn't shared any designs of its upcoming dish, but it can be expected to feature some external changes considering that it'll need to be integrated with aircraft, ground vehicles and ships. Starlink currently costs $499/terminal, and at a loss to SpaceX, so it'll be interesting to see how the next-gen dish affects that price.

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NightAntilli

Posts: 777   +974
If it can't handle 50°C, that's quite the blunder. You've just taken out pretty much everyone in the tropics, and anyone that wants to use the service in the summer. If the dish has to stand in direct sunlight, 50°C is reached very quickly.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 548   +833
If it can't handle 50°C, that's quite the blunder. You've just taken out pretty much everyone in the tropics, and anyone that wants to use the service in the summer. If the dish has to stand in direct sunlight, 50°C is reached very quickly.
Yeah they need to do something about that if they want to hit the wider market. Right now the beta testers are hosing down their dishes LOL

For ambient temperature it would be alright, but it's internal temperature and that is super low. For comparison the Raspberry Pi will shut down at 85°C.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,576   +4,964
How did he mount the dish so the air wouldn't rip it off when driving? It would take bolt through the hood.
Honestly, I do not know. He was ticketed because it was an obstruction of his view - which is illegal in CA. I am sure people will find creative ways of mounting a dish, though, that might be legal. We'll see.

For me, though, it seems a way to complicated and expensive way of getting internet in a car, when in many areas of the US, anyway, are covered by 4G or similar cell phone service. I get that there are areas that are not covered by Cell Service. I would imagine, though, that it would not be that big of an issue, or at least not enough of an issue to warrant subscribing to yet another service like StarLink. I am sure others will disagree, but for myself, I can live without internet in a vehicle.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,442   +6,173
:facepalm: For those who just cannot live or work without the internet everywhere they go - especially when cell-phone service is not available..
What's a "cellphone? :confused:
I guess SpaceX/Musky will have to lobby for a California law change - https://mashable.com/article/starlink-satellite-dish-car :rolleyes:

Good luck with that.
I have faith that California will find a way to conclude these dishes cause cancer. They've done as much for everything else that was sold there.

As far as internet service to a moving vehicle goes. expect a high number of deaths behind the wheel to occur, before legislation is drafted making, "driving while di*king around with a laptop", a ticketable offense
 

NightAntilli

Posts: 777   +974
As far as internet service to a moving vehicle goes. expect a high number of deaths behind the wheel to occur, before legislation is drafted making, "driving while di*king around with a laptop", a ticketable offense
As someone with children, internet in the car is glorious. Just give them a tablet with YouTube kids and they won't get bored. Yes, looking outside is great, but they are too small to see anything but sky and some light posts. So yeah. As long as it's more affordable than current mobile data, it's a win for me.

They still need to fix the 50°C limit though. That's much more important.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 226   +147
:facepalm: For those who just cannot live or work without the internet everywhere they go - especially when cell-phone service is not available...

I guess SpaceX/Musky will have to lobby for a California law change - https://mashable.com/article/starlink-satellite-dish-car :rolleyes:

Good luck with that.
Comments like these...they didn't get pulled over because it's illegal to bolt a satellite antenna to a car, as far as I know, but it is illegal to attach something to a car that blocks the driver's view, which is pretty understandable, though having to have such a law goes to show how stupid people are.
 

Aranarth

Posts: 115   +100
When it rains or is cloudy sky, forget about internet....!
Nope...

Works fine in blizzards, thunderstorms, and rain showers. I'm a beta user so I speak from experience.
This is NOT satellites in geosynchronous orbit where you need to worry about such things.
 

netman

Posts: 678   +268
Nope...

Works fine in blizzards, thunderstorms, and rain showers. I'm a beta user so I speak from experience.
This is NOT satellites in geosynchronous orbit where you need to worry about such things.

Yep...

From Starlink Website FAQs:

I live in an area with heavy rain, snow, or wind—can I still use Starlink?

Your Starlink will detect and melt snow that falls directly on it, however accumulating snow around your Starlink may block the field of view. We recommend installing Starlink in a location that avoids snow build-up and other obstructions from blocking the field of view. Heavy rain or wind can also affect your satellite internet connection, potentially leading to slower speeds or a rare outage.
 

Aranarth

Posts: 115   +100
Ok... So, we had a storm that came through that dropped an inch of rain in 3/4's an hour. Signal was in and out at the peak of the deluge when there was so much water coming down it looked like fog had rolled in. Signal loss lasted about 3 mins probably until a satellite with a better angle came into range. Worst part of rain storm was over a few minutes later.