SpaceX Debuts Maritime Offering for Starlink
SpaceX announced a maritime satcom offering for the Starlink constellation on Thursday. Starlink Maritime is advertised as offering 350 Mbps download for $5,000 per month, with a one-time hardware cost of $10,000 for two high performance terminals. SpaceX announced the news on July 7 after launching 53 new Starlink satellites to orbit earlier in the day.
SpaceX said Starlink Maritime can serve merchant vessels, oil rigs, and premium yachts. In photos, the terminal looks like the user terminal for Starlink’s consumer broadband offering.
“Starlink Maritime allows you to connect from the most remote waters across the world, just like you would in the office or at home,” the website says.
SpaceX has been expanding markets for Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation Starlink beyond fixed consumer broadband. Earlier this year, the company debuted Starlink Premium, a more expensive Starlink service geared toward businesses and high demand users, and an option for RVs.
Starlink has also garnered attention recently for deals in the aviation sector. California-based public charter operator JSX signed on in April as the first airline to use Starlink in-flight connectivity (IFC) service, with plans to start service this year. And Hawaiian Airlines plans to provide Starlink IFC service on its fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Starlink Vice President of Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller recently said several more airline agreements in the works as well.
Some maritime connectivity providers are optimistic about LEO’s prospects for maritime. In an interview last year with Via Satellite, CEO of yacht connectivity provider OmniAccess, Bertrand Hartman, said he believes LEO will become the norm for high-end applications.
“[LEO] is what I would want on my boat if I was to have one,” Hartman said. “LEO particularly shines in maritime. VSAT links are not easy. You have a limited number of satellites, line of sight instruction. We are all struggling to mitigate that. Now, you have hundreds and thousands of satellites. So, that gives you coverage and you have significantly more bandwidth. And you have the latency element. It ticks a lot of boxes.”