At any point of the digital transition,…
The US Department of Defense has shown interest in SpaceX’s star chain satellite Internet service, which has grown in popularity in the United States. The organization plans to create a network communication star chain of miniature wireless Version satellite antenna.
The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has expressed interest in battery-powered micro-satellite antennas, according to a statement released by the US Department of Defense on the US Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative. It’s unclear if the US military has worked with SpaceX on compact star-link satellite antennas, or if the project will receive offers from any organization at this time.
SBIR’s aim is to “conduct a feasibility analysis to determine if it is feasible to build a miniature receiving infrastructure that can efficiently access Starlink commercial Internet services.” In essence, as more radio, data, and Internet access have become necessities for most people in the modern world, military activities have become more useful and strategic than ever, and sustaining Internet connections is more useful and strategic than ever.
In this vein, the US Special Operations Command wants to see whether a miniature antenna can be developed that can connect to SpaceX’s massive star-link network while remaining compact and powerful enough to be transported and controlled by a single soldier while on the move. However, SBIR must be available to any American organization or person capable of achieving the program’s objectives. In other terms, SpaceX could not be the only bidder.
Satellite antennas from Starlink can now be relocated and used in various places, but they must remain unchanged (that is, they cannot be moved in a large area after installation). SpaceX is working tirelessly to improve its network so that users can carry antennas with them everywhere they go and even use the Internet when driving. The new antenna architecture, on the other hand, consumes a lot of power and is very heavy. In other words, it is quite a long way from being brought around.
SpaceX has never shown an interest in or desire to encourage third-party manufacturers to produce Starlink-compatible antennas.
However, for SpaceX, OneWeb, Amazon, and other rivals’ low-Earth orbit micro-internets, a miniature battery-powered antenna that can tether to the Starlink network and provide a “reliable Internet access service” would certainly have significant commercial advantages.
It’s uncertain if gaining federal grants and developing under the SBIR program would stymie SpaceX’s plans to commercialize and use the same wireless antenna for civilian purposes. While there is currently no hint of how this technology will function, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the miniature mobile star-link satellite antenna “sounds like a nice idea.”
In either case, the new batch of SBIR contract proposals will be accepted by the US Department of Defense from May 19 to June 19. SpaceX (or an unexpected third-party supplier) could pass the second phase if the US Special Operations Command decides to award the first phase of the contract and the feasibility analysis determines that the portable star-link antenna is within the feasible range. Proposals move away from theoretical or experimental analysis and into prototyping.