· By Jessar Cobe
SpaceX to Offer a Smaller Starlink Dish About the Size of a Laptop
The new dish promises to be more portable. The company is also preparing a next-gen high-performance Starlink dish for enterprise customers.
SpaceX is preparing a smaller Starlink dish that might be as easy to carry as a laptop.
On Tuesday, the company filed an FCC application(Opens in a new window) that seeks permission to sell next-generation Starlink dishes, one of which "leverages a smaller form factor."
This dish is designed “to allow consumers to enjoy the benefits of high-speed, low-latency broadband wherever they live or work, including in rural and remote areas where mobile or portable applications are necessary,” SpaceX says.
In a separate document(Opens in a new window), SpaceX revealed the new dish will measure 0.29 meters (11.4 inches) by 0.25 meters (9.8 inches), making it about the size of an Apple MacBook, as noted(Opens in a new window) by Nathan Owens, an engineer who tracks Starlink developments.
In contrast, the existing Starlink dish for consumers measures at 20.2 by 11.9 inches, making it substantially longer. The current Starlink dish also costs $599.
The company refrained from divulging exact improvements made to the new dish, so the costs or potential speed benefits are currently unknown. But the FCC application adds that “SpaceX has continued to develop and refine innovative user-terminal models, resulting in the improved design described in this application.”
The other next-gen Starlink dish mentioned in the FCC application is designed as a “high-performance solution” for both consumers and enterprise customers. It’ll measure 0.57 meters (22.4 inches) by 0.36 meters (14.7 inches).
That’s smaller than the current high-performance dish from SpaceX, which measures 22.7 by 20.1 inches and costs $2,500.
SpaceX has applied for FCC licenses to use the dishes in fixed positions and in motion(Opens in a new window) on vehicles, including cars, boats, and planes. So users can expect the company to sell updated dish models sometime in the future, once SpaceX secures regulatory approval. The new hardware will be able to communicate with both the first-generation Starlink constellation and the second, which existing Starlink dishes can also do.
Other next-generation Starlink dishes are also in the works. According to an FCC application filed last month, SpaceX has requested a temporary license to test up to 200 new Starlink dish models.