SpaceX wants to beam Starlink internet to vehicles on Earth

The company filed a request with the FCC to provide Starlink internet for everything from large trucks to ships.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read

SpaceX in vehicles? Perhaps.

SOPA Images/Getty Images

Elon Musk's other company (or at least, the one that's getting the most headlines lately), SpaceX, wants to spread its Starlink internet to more places. Specifically, to vehicles, ships and planes right here on Earth. Fan blog Tesmanian first published a Federal Communications Commission filing request from SpaceX last Thursday asking the government agency to provide it "a blanket license authorizing operation."

If granted, SpaceX would have the authority to beam Starlink internet service to all sorts of transportation methods in the US. The company said in its filing this would serve public interest since it would authorize "a new class of ground-based components for SpaceX's satellite system that will expand the range of broadband capabilities available to moving vehicles throughout the United States and to moving vessels and aircraft worldwide." Further, the company said it would expand the company's goal of bringing broadband to underserved and unserved areas. SpaceX argued consumers are no longer willing to "forgo connectivity while on the move, whether driving a truck across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a US port, or while on a domestic or international flight."

While Starlink internet currently operates via an invite-only beta in rural communities with provided antennas and routers, those operating vehicles would need a similarly designed unit that "qualified installers" would handle. They may sit on the masts of ships, the roofs of semi trucks or somewhere on passenger cars and boats. The company didn't provide any further details in the filing.

However, it doesn't sound like passenger cars would be at the front of the line. Musk said in a Monday tweet the company would not start connecting Starlink to Tesla vehicles because "our terminal is much too big." We'll have to wait and see what becomes of the 10,000-strong satellite system next.

Up close with Starlink, where toy spaceships snap to life

See all photos