SpaceX previews ruggedized Starlink dish for vehicles, ships, and aircraft

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SpaceX says that Starlink user terminals for moving vehicles will be ruggedized to withstand “harsh environments” with extreme levels of heat and cold. SpaceX has been seeking Federal Communications Commission permission to deploy terminals on moving vehicles since March and provided new details on its plan in an application filed Tuesday.

Compared to Starlink satellite dishes deployed at homes, the new Earth Station in Motion (ESIM) “has been ruggedized to handle harsher environments so that, for example, it will be able to continue to operate at greater extremes of heat and cold, will have improved snow/ice melt capabilities, and will withstand a greater number of thermal cycles,” SpaceX told the FCC.

The standard Starlink user terminals go into “thermal shutdown” once they hit 122° Fahrenheit, which has caused outages for some beta users. While ruggedized terminals for moving vehicles won’t solve the problem for home-Internet users, SpaceX will presumably try to make the next version of its home terminal more resistant to heat and cold.

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