SpaceX Reduces Recovery Fleet Internet Costs by Nearly 70% Thanks to Starlink: Case Study

CleanShot 2022 07 07 at 12 51 47

SpaceX today launched Starlink Maritime, its satellite internet offering for those out at sea, including merchant vessels, premium yachts, oil rigs and more.

The company also released a case study detailing how it was able to reduce the internet costs of its rocket recovery fleet by nearly 70%, thanks to Starlink, after testing the latter with an experimental license.

“Prior to Starlink, SpaceX’s maritime recovery fleet relied on traditional geostationary satellite internet service (VSAT), which came with high latency, low bandwidth, and poor reliability. The systems were also challenging to install and required frequent maintenance,” said the company.

“At over $165k per month for 25 Mb/s download by 25 Mb/s upload of pre-paid bandwidth, satellite internet was one of the top operating costs for SpaceX’s recovery fleet. And because the vehicle can generate 100s of GBs of data, SpaceX regularly paid costly overage fees,” added SpaceX.

But “transformational improvements” arrived with Starlink, as SpaceX teams with maritime terminals saw a 5,900% in added download throughput, 700% in added upload throughput, a whopping 95% reduction in latency and a 70% reduction in cost.

“With a max upload speed of 40Mb/s on each installation, Starlink has enabled the transfer of 100s of GB of data within hours of the rocket landing. This was not possible with the VSAT system. Starlink also reduced latency by 50% to just 50ms, allowing operators to respond faster for even greater control over their fleet,” said SpaceX.

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Starlink at sea has changed how SpaceX can hand live video for rocket landings at sea onto autonomous drone ships. SpaceX says Starlink internet has also improved employee morale, allowing crew to stay connected to families during long stretches at sea with video calling, while also stream movies online and play video games while offshore.

Elon Musk said on Thursday Starlink Maritime and its high performance terminals allow it to withstand tough weather on the open ocean: