SpaceX has submitted an application to the FederalCommunications Commission (FCC) to seek permission to test unmanned barges at sea as maritime Internet stations. They plan to install 12 conventional ground-based Starlink complexes on the barges to test the system’s operation in sea conditions. How these complexes will connect to the ground network is not specified. Perhaps all this has other goals and not necessarily civilian ones.
Starlink satellite internet is designed like thisin such a way that its users (terminals) connect to the Internet through a network of Starlink ground stations connected to the global network via optical lines. Starlink satellites in orbit act as relays that transmit data from user terminals to Starlink ground stations. If the terminal and ground station are out of reach of one satellite, then relaying a laser beam from one satellite to another begins in space until the terminal and ground station are connected by a data stream.
Marine coating is built on the same principle.Starlink. Since July 2022, the company has been providing a package of Starlink Maritime services worth $5 thousand per month. If SpaceX's unmanned barges, which were created to pick up the company's rocket stages in the ocean, are turned into "gateways" for the satellite network, then perhaps the Starlink service at sea will become cheaper. So far nothing is known about the project. Permission to test the land-based complex at sea has also not yet been issued.
Taking into account the growing tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, it cannot be ruled out that sea stations could be considered as a way to provide Internet communications to naval groups.