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FCC approves SpaceX’s Starlink earth terminals for moving vehicles, Tesla shows Starlink on a trailer with solar panels in Germany

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SpaceX started pursuing an FCC license to run its satellite broadband Starlink internet on vehicles, ships, and planes in motion last year. It took around 16 months for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) International Bureau to grant a blanket authorization to SpaceX Starlink.

“Granting SpaceX and Kepler Earth Station In Motion Authorizations,” FCC wrote in the brief description of the authorization on its website.

ESIM (Earth Station in Motion) is the term SpaceX/FCC has coined for the Starlink receiver terminals used in moving vehicles, ships, or aircraft. The FCC order authorization document (PDF below) defines what ESIMs refer to in the context of Starlink satellite internet as follows:

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ESIMs is the collective designation for three types of earth stations that the Commission authorizes to transmit while in motion — Earth Stations on Vessels (ESVs), Vehicle-Mounted Earth Stations (VMESs), and Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAAs) — using frequencies allocated to the fixed-satellite service. Broadly stated, ESVs, such as those requested by Kepler refers to earth stations that communicates with a satellite or satellites while located on maritime vessels such as boats, cargo ships, or cruise ships, whereas VMES and ESAAs refer to earth stations that communicate with a satellite or satellites while located on land-based vehicles or on aircraft, respectively.

Definition of ESIMs by FCC/SpaceX. DA/FCC #: DA-22-695 (complete PDF below)

With the application of earth stations in motion (ESIMs), Starlink enterprise customers will have an end-to-end connectivity solution to their entire supply chain (shipping to delivery). If planes, vessels, and large trucks are equipped with Starlink dish terminals, it will also make it easy to track the shipments from origin to destination for the enterprise customers.

This license is important to allow SpaceX to provide on-the-go broadband internet for people during their travel journeys. In addition to the large commercial transportation sector (planes, ships, vessels), the retail customer will also be able to use Starlink while traveling in their trucks and recreational vehicles (RVs).

Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla, Inc. is currently showcasing the new Model Y with 4680 battery cells at the IdeenExpo in Hanover, Germany (2nd to 10th July 2022).

Along with the new Model Y , Tesla has unveiled an interesting concept of a solar trailer at the IdeenExpo 2022. This solar trailer has a large Tesla logo on the rear end and a Starlink receiver terminal dish installed on top.

SpaceX Starlink square dish terminal (Dishy McFlatFace / ESIM) installed on a solar trailer made by Tesla displayed at IdeenExpo 2022 in Hanover, Germany. Credits: Falk Milzer / Instagram.

This solar charging trailer is currently a concept designed by Tesla which demonstrates the possibility of charging your electric vehicle on the move. The trailer has expandable/retractable panels on both sides to allow for maximum solar charging when it is stationary.

Towing a trailer with a Tesla EV takes a toll on the car’s range but this type of trailer with solar panels can easily make up for this range loss.

The Starlink terminal installed on top shows the perfect use-case for the common vehicle owners that will keep you connected in the most remote locations on Earth. You must have noticed in the picture above the new square Starlink dish terminal (#DishyMcFlatface) — a transition from the old round-shaped design.

Starlink earth stations in motion will also enable people living in RVs and are on a constant traveling spree to be able to have reliable and fast internet connections on their journeys to the deserts, forests, and mountainous areas.

Credits: Falk Milzer / Instagram.

Interestingly, Elon Musk liked the idea of a mobile/portable mini Starlink dish just last year, and we are now very close to seeing that happen in the near future.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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FCC Order Authorization – Starlink Earth Stations in Motion (ESIMs)

FCC Order Authorization DA 22-695 (PDF) – Starlink Earth Stations in Motion (ESIMs).
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By Iqtidar Ali

Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

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