SpaceX, which operates the Starlink low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite network, has published a website with information about Starlink Aviation, the company’s satellite airborne connectivity system. Airborne hardware is expected to be available in mid-2023, according to SpaceX, and the LEO satcom network will provide worldwide coverage.
A Starlink installation will include an aero terminal box, power supply, two wireless access points, harnesses, and a phased-array antenna that mounts on the top of the fuselage. SpaceX is seeking partners to develop supplemental type certificate (STC) upgrades, but STCs are already underway for Bombardier Globals and Challenger 300/350s; Embraer ERJ-135/145s and Legacy 600/650s; Dassault Falcon 2000s; and Gulfstream G450s, G550s, and G650s. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has tested Starlink on his G650.
SpaceX said that latency is as low as 20 milliseconds and claims network speeds up to 350 Mbps to each airborne terminal. There will be no long-term service contracts, according to SpaceX, and “all plans include unlimited data.” The Starlink information on the website does not include any information about system capacity constraints.
Aircraft hardware will cost $150,000 and service plans range from $12,500 to $25,000 per month. Reservation for a future delivery slot requires a $5,000 payment.