SpaceX has found a new home for its satellite-powered internet, inking a deal with independent air carrier JSX to offer onboard Wi-Fi to customers later this year. That makes the airline the first to carry SpaceX’s Starlink internet service, as the private space company continues shoring up the technology by launching more satellites into orbit.
After launching the first set of satellites in 2019, SpaceX has been rapidly building out its constellation in an attempt to blanket the planet in high-speed internet. There are currently around 2,000 Starlink satellites in orbit and plans to deploy many thousands more, though the program isn’t without its detractors decrying their contribution to pollution of the night sky.
In any case, SpaceX continues to push the service and even recently introduced a premium option for high-end users. It has also been working on ways to implement access on commercial aircraft, testing the service with several aircraft over the past year or so, including those from Delta Airlines, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal this week.
But JSX will be the first cab off the rank, and says the service will be free for every customer onboard when it launches later this year. The airline bills itself as a “hop-on jet service,” functioning as a short-distance carrier offering 30-seat charter flights between US cities including Las Vegas, Phoenix and Oakland.