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SpaceX requests FCC permission to expand Starlink service to trucks, ships, & planes

Capitalism in space: SpaceX has submitted a request to the FCC to expand its Starlink customer base by providing the service not only to rural areas but to large moving vehicles, such as trucks, ships, & planes.

In its application to the FCC, filed on Friday, SpaceX said expanding Starlink availability to moving vehicles throughout the U.S. and to moving vessels and aircraft worldwide would serve the public interest. “The urgency to provide broadband service to unserved and underserved areas has never been clearer,” David Goldman, SpaceX’s director of satellite policy, said in the filing.

Goldman said SpaceX’s “Earth Stations in Motion,” or ESIMs, would be “electrically identical” versions of the $499 antenna systems that are already being sold to beta customers. He suggested that they’d be counted among the million end-user stations that have already been authorized by the FCC.

…SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet that Starlink’s ESIM terminals would be “much too big” to mount on cars — such as the electric cars that are made by Tesla, the other company that Musk heads — but would be suitable for large trucks and RVs.

The article at the link notes in detail how this request poses a serious competitive threat to two of SpaceX’s biggest rivals, Klymeta and Amazon’s Kuiper constellation. This is true, but it is so mostly because SpaceX has already launched more than a thousand satellites in its constellation, and is simply taking advantage of its advanced position to undercut its rivals.

For example, though Klymeta might be using already orbiting satellites put up by different companies, it is also charging twice what SpaceX wants to charge for its antenna system, making Starlink a more attractive product. Amazon meanwhile appears years away from launching its first satellite. It might have a better design, but such things are worthless if they aren’t built and operational.

These companies have no one to blame but themselves if Starlink grabs their hope-for market share. And the FCC should not block SpaceX just to protect them.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

4 comments

  • Col Beausabre

    Locomotives already have a forest of antenae on their roof, including GPS, data link (to monitor the unit’s mechanical condition), voice, Positive Train Control, etc. See Burlington Northern Santa Fe example

    https://www.railwayage.com/cs/ptc/bnsf-ptc-were-ready-but-youre-not/

    (and to think when my dad worked his way through college by goin’ railroadin’, the crews communicated via whistles and waving flags or lanterns. with the dispatcher runnin’ the railroad via a train sheet and telegraph key)

    Since they are mobile and can operate in pretty remote areas, such as the mountains and deserts of the West, put down the railroads as possible customers to reduce their line side infrastructure.

  • Jeff Wright

    I miss the old telegraph poles and all the wires like I miss the chatter of newsrooms. My Dad worked for the L and N. I think some lines were still in use in the early 7o’s…hydrogen making nickel iron batteries in railroads look to make a comeback as battolysers.

  • Jeff Wright

    Oh, they should have kept LORAN for ships

  • mrsizer

    And the FCC should not block SpaceX just to protect them.
    which means that they will probably do so. Add “and to spite Elon” to the mix and it seems almost guaranteed.

    I’d offer it to the rest of the world and let the US (and anyone else who doesn’t approve) live without it. That can even be justified as “progressive”: Allow the third world (can we still say that?) to leapfrog over all the intermediate steps, much as has happened with cell phones vs land lines.

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