Investing in Space

California Highway Patrol tickets driver with apparent SpaceX Starlink dish bolted to car hood

Share
Key Points
  • A California Highway Patrol officer pulled over a vehicle on Friday that had a satellite dish bolted to the car's hood.
  • The dish appears to be an antenna from SpaceX's Starlink service, which rolled out in October with a beta program.
  • CHP told CNBC that the motorist received a ticket for a moving violation.
California Highway Patrol Officer T. Caton

A California Highway Patrol officer pulled over a vehicle on Friday that had a satellite dish bolted to the car's hood, and the device appeared to be one of SpaceX's Starlink antennas.

"Sir I stopped you today for that visual obstruction on your hood. Does it not block your view while driving?" CHP of Antelope Valley wrote in a Facebook post about the incident.

CHP added that the motorist replied: "Only when I make right turns."

California Highway Patrol Officer T. Caton

A representative of the law enforcement agency told CNBC that the motorist, driving a Toyota Prius, received a ticket for a moving violation. The motorist told CHP that they used the antenna to get Wi-Fi service for a business they operate out of the car.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

The contents of the Starlink Kit for customers, which includes the satellite antenna dish, a stand, its power supply, and a WiFi router.
SpaceX

Starlink is the company's capital-intensive project to build an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites, known in the space industry as a constellation, designed to deliver high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet.

The "Starlink Kit" that is sent to customers includes four significant parts: The user terminal, also known as the antenna, a tripod mount, a Wi-Fi router and a power supply. SpaceX also offers rooftop mounting options for an additional cost.

SpaceX first rolled out the service in October with a beta program for select consumers for $99 a month and in the past year has sought regulatory approval to test the network inflight and expand the service to large moving vehicles, such as ships and trucks — but the antenna for vehicles is expected to look somewhat different from the dish currently sent to users at home.

Elon Musk noted earlier this week that SpaceX now has about 70,000 active users of Starlink, and may grow to "possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months."

VIDEO19:1519:15
SpaceX is a leader in rocket launches, but Starlink is its golden ticket

Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro.
Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV. 
Sign up to start a free trial today.