FCC Grants SpaceX Permission to Provide Starlink Broadband Service to Vehicles as Battle with DISH Network Rages Over Frequency

Starlink Premium antenna. (Credit: SpaceX)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted permission to SpaceX to provide Starlink broadband service to vehicles, vessels and aircraft. Bloomberg reports:

The Federal Communications Commission announced the decision in an order published Thursday, which said it also granted permission for the service to mobile customers of Kepler Communications Inc.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the formal name of Musk’s closely held company, has launched about 2,500 first-generation satellites in its Starlink fleet and serves almost 500,000 subscribers worldwide….

The FCC said it received requests to deny or defer the new SpaceX service from Viasat Inc., Dish Network Corp. and RS Access LLC. Viasat has objected to SpaceX’s Starlink, saying it raises the risk of in-space collisions, while Dish and billionaire Michael Dell’s RS Access are embroiled in a dispute with SpaceX over airwaves use.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is engaged in a battle at the FCC over DISH Network’s attempt to expand its use of 12 GHz band. SpaceX disagrees with DISH’s claim that the expansion would render its Starlink satellite broadband useless to most U.S. users.

“Despite technical studies dating back as far as 2016 that refute the basis of their claims, DISH has attempted to mislead the FCC with faulty analysis in hopes of obscuring the truth. If DISH’s lobbying efforts succeed, our study shows that Starlink customers will experience harmful interference more than 77% of the time and total outage of service 74% of the time, rendering Starlink unusable for most Americans,” the company said in a statement.

You can read the details of the study here, as well as SpaceX’s letter to the FCC on the dispute.

SpaceX Completes Hat Trick with 3 Launches in 36 Hours

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX completed a hat trick over the weekend with three satellite launches from different coasts in 36 hours.

Elon Musk’s company wrapped up a busy weekend when a Falcon 9 booster launched the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The rocket lifted off at 12:27 a.m. EDT.

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SpaceX Conducts Second Launch in Less Than 24 Hours, Third Scheduled for Sunday Morning

SpaceX conducted its second launch in less than 24 hours on Saturday morning when a Falcon 9 carried a German reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

The rocket lifted off at 7:19 a.m. PDT (10:19 a.m. EDT) with the Airbus-built SARah synthetic aperture radar satellite for the German military from a fog-shrouded launch pad. SpaceX ended its webcast early prior to satellite deployment at the request of the customer.

The Falcon 9’s first stage booster, launching for the third time, touched down at Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg. It was SpaceX’s 125th recovery of an orbital class booster.

It was the second Falcon 9 flight in just over 22 hours. On Friday, SpaceX launched 53 Starlink broadband satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket lifted off at 12:08 p.m. EDT (9:08 a.m. PDT).

It was a record 13th flight for the Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously launched GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, and now 10 Starlink missions. The stage landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX will wrap up a busy weekend on Sunday morning with a Falcon 9 launch of the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite at 12:27 a.m. EDT (04:27 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It will be the 26th launch of the year for SpaceX.

You can watch the live launch webcast for the launch starting about 10 minutes before liftoff.

SpaceX Plans 3 Launches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday From Opposite Coasts

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on May 14, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has launches planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday from the East and West coasts.

A Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch 53 Starlink broadband satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:08 p.m. EDT (16:08 UTC). The launch window is instantaneous. A backup launch window is Saturday at 11:47 a.m. EDT (15:47 UTC).

The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, and nine Starlink missions. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

On Saturday, a Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch the Airbus-built SARah synthetic aperture radar satellite for the German military from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The launch window opens at approximately 7:00 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT, 14:00 UTC). The Falcon 9’s first stage booster will return to Landing Zone 4 at Vandenberg.

On Sunday, a Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch the Globalstar FM15 communications satellite at 12:27 a.m. EDT (04:27 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

You can watch the live launch webcast for each launch starting about 10 minutes before liftoff.

SpaceX Offers Starlink Service for Recreational Vehicles

Starlink Premium antenna. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — Starlink is now offering Starlink for RVs at any destination where Starlink provides active coverage. At this time, there is no waitlist – all orders will be shipped shortly after the order is placed, including to “Waitlist” areas on the Starlink Availability Map.  

Users can expect high speed, low latency internet in areas marked “Available”, and notably slower speeds during events with many collocated users, or during hours of peak usage in areas marked as “Waitlist”,  where residential users are prioritized.  Prioritizing residential makes it possible to offer Starlink for RVs immediately with minimal impact to the most loaded portions of the network.  

Users can pause and un-pause service at any time. You can order directly at Starlink.com/rv.  

Starlink for RVs is not meant for use while in-motion. To learn more about Starlink for RVs, please read our FAQ page or updated Terms of Service.

SpaceX Looks to Raise $1.725 Billion in New Capital, $750 Million in Secondary Sale

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

CNBC reports on two stock sales by Elon Musk’s SpaceX that would send the company’s valuation to $127 billion:

The space venture is looking to bring in up to $1.725 billion in new capital, at a price of $70 per share, according to a company-wide email on Friday obtained by CNBC. Notably, SpaceX split its stock price 10-for-1 in February, which reduced the common stock to $56 a share – with the new valuation representing a 25% increase.

SpaceX is also conducting a secondary sale to company insiders and existing shareholders for up to $750 million in common stock. The company conducts these secondary offerings regularly, as a way for long-time stockholders to sell equity, given that SpaceX remains private more than 20 years since its founding.

The New York Post quoted a source as saying there was “very tepid demand” to SpaceX’s latest effort to raise capital, which would help to fund the company’s Starlink broadband satellite constellation and Starship/Super Heavy booster. The company raised $1.9 billion in 2020.

“No one is paying up for anything in this market,” the second source said, with public and private valuations of tech companies collapsing.

Part of Musk’s problem could be that many of his investors who typically participate in his fund-raisings committed several billion earlier this month to co-invest with him in Twitter. Now that position does not look great considering that Musk has questioned the social media giant’s financials.

Those loyal Musk investors for the moment might be somewhat tapped out, the first source said.

The value of Tesla stock has plunged since Musk announced plans to spend $44 billion to acquire Twitter. The decline in the stock has come amidst a general decline in tech stocks.

Musk has put the purchase on hold, saying that a lower price might be warranted if the number of automated bot accounts on Twitter are more than the company has previously stated. Twitter’s board, which approached the acquisition, said it will seek to enforce the sale.

Meanwhile, Musk has faced charges that he exposed himself to a SpaceX flight attendant and propositioned her for sex during a private jet trip to Europe. SpaceX is reported to have paid a $250,000 severance to the woman with a non-disclosure agreement that she not discuss the matter or disparate Musk or SpaceX.

SpaceX Orbits 53 Starlink Satellites in 21st Falcon 9 Launch of 2022

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX launched 53 Starlink broadband satellites to low-Earth orbit aboard a Falcon 9 booster on Wednesday, May 18, from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The first stage booster supporting the mission on Wednesday previously launched Arabsat-6A, STP-2, COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2, and one Starlink mission. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth and landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

It was SpaceX’s 14th launch of Starlink satellites this year, and the company’s 21st launch overall of 2022. SpaceX has launched 709 of the broadband satellites this year, and 2,653 Starlink spacecraft in all. Wikipedia reports that 2,354 satellites are currently functioning in orbit.

SpaceX has launched 860 payloads into orbit in its 21 launches. The total includes two rideshare missions with 145 small payloads, two Crew Dragon flights carrying eight astronauts to the International Space Station, two missions for the National Reconnaissance Office, and the launch of Italy’s military/civilian COSMO-SkyMed second generation Earth observation satellite.

SpaceX has said it is planning to launch more than 50 times this year. The company’s next flight is the May 25 launch of the Transporter-5 rideshare mission from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX Launches 106 Starlink Satellites with Launches from California, Florida

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on May 14, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX launched 106 Starlink broadband satellites in a pair of launches conducted less than 24 hours apart from launch complexes in California and Florida.

On Friday, May 13, a Falcon 9 launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The first stage booster, which landed on an offshore drone ship, previously launched Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, DART, and two Starlink missions.

On Saturday, Falcon 9 launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The flight involved the rare launch of a new Falcon 9 rocket. The first stage landed on an off-shore drone ship.

SpaceX has launched 2,600 Starlink satellites, which provide low-latency broadband service around the globe. Starlink is now available in 32 countries.

SpaceX Launches 53 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Friday, May 6 at 5:42 a.m. ET, SpaceX launched 53 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

This was the 12th flight for the Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission, which previously launched Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, Transporter-3, and now seven Starlink missions.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches 53 Starlink Satellites

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX)

On Friday, April 29 at 5:27 p.m. ET, Falcon 9 launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

It was the quickest turnaround for a Falcon 9 first stage booster. Twenty-one days earlier, the stage had launched the privately funded Axiom-1 mission to the International Space Station aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft. It was the sixth launch overall for the first stage, which also launched GPS III Space Vehicle 04, GPS III Space Vehicle 05, Inspiration4 and a Starlink mission.

SpaceX to Launch 53 Starlink Satellites Today

Falcon 9 lifts off with Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX is targeting Friday, April 29 for a Falcon 9 launch of 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The instantaneous launch window is at 5:27 p.m. ET, or 21:27 UTC, and a backup opportunity is available on Saturday, April 30 at 5:05 p.m. ET, or 21:05 UTC.

The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched GPS III Space Vehicle 04, GPS III Space Vehicle 05, Inspiration4, one Starlink mission, and most recently the Ax-1 mission on April 8, 2022. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will return to Earth and land on the Just Read the Instructions droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

A live webcast of this mission will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff.

Hawaiian Airlines to Offer Free, High-Speed Starlink Internet Connectivity on Transpacific Fleet

Credit: Hawaii Airlines

HONOLULU (Hawaiian Airlines PR) – Hawaiian Airlines today became the first major airline to announce an agreement with Starlink to provide complimentary high-speed, low-latency broadband internet access to every guest onboard flights between the islands and the continental U.S, Asia and Oceania. Hawai‘i’s largest and longest-serving carrier will equip its Airbus A330 and A321neo aircraft, as well as an incoming fleet of Boeing 787-9s, with Starlink’s industry leading satellite internet connectivity service.

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SpaceX’s Ability to Thwart Russian Jamming of Starlink Called “Eye Watering”

Starlink Premium antenna. (Credit: SpaceX)

Popular Mechanics reports that the Pentagon is studying how SpaceX was able to quickly thwart attempts to jam Starlink satellite broadband receivers the company sent to Ukraine to help the nation defend itself against a Russian invasion.

The U.S. Department of Defense is casting envious eyes on Elon Musk’s SpaceX after the aerospace company swiftly responded to an “electronic warfare attack” in Ukraine last month. SpaceX donated Starlink terminals to Ukraine to help the country stay connected in wartime, but Russian signal-jamming attempted to thwart those plans. The notoriously bureaucratic Pentagon says it’s a model for responding to threats that it can’t currently match—but desperately needs to…..

According to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, some Starlink terminals near the front line in Ukraine were experiencing jamming, presumably from Russian military electronic warfare units. Musk later tweeted that the company quickly “reprioritized to cyber defense & overcoming signal jamming,” and issued a fix within a day, broadcast to all Starlink terminals. The fix reportedly involved changing a single line of software code.

A one-day turnaround for software fixes is par for the course for commercial businesses, especially startups, but not for the government. Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told attendees at an industry conference that SpaceX’s handling of Russian jamming in Ukraine was “eye-watering.”

SpaceX has sent 5,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine, including 3,667 donated by SpaceX and 1,333 purchased by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

JSX Air Adopts SpaceX Starlink Service

JSX Air describes itself as a “hop on jet service” that offers point-to-point flights to 17 destinations within Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New York and Texas. The airline flies 23 Embraer ERJ-145 and ERJ-135 aircraft with 30 passenger seats. The company was founded as JetSuiteX in 2016. JetBlue and Qatar Airways are minority shareholders in the airline.

SpaceX Launches 53 Starlink Satellites, Falcon 9 First Stage Flies Record 12th Time

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites while the Dragon that will carry Crew-4 to the International space Station awaits its turn. (Credit: SpaceX)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Thursday, April 21 at 1:51 p.m. ET, Falcon 9 launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This was the 12th flight for the Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission, which previously launched GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, and now nine Starlink missions.