Yellowstone National Park Tourist Spotted Parked With a Starlink Satellite on Tesla Hood

by TK Sanders

A quick-thinking Yellowstone National Park tourist used his Tesla’s Starlink internet capabilities to redefine the idea of working from home. Ron Sterbenz, a regular visitor to the park, was driving in Lamar Valley north of Soda Butte when he saw the Tesla parked on the side fo the road. On the hood, a Starlink satellite sat, beaming down high-speed internet access for the mystery man inside, parked in one of the world’s most remote little corners of nature.

Sterbenz says he usually sees bison, wolves, or bears out in the depths of the park. Never before has he seen a Tesla with a small satellite dish on its hood parked on the side of the road. His first thought was that the driver needed help and was using the internet access to call a tow truck.

“I thought the person was trying to charge the car and that was why I pulled over, and perhaps they needed help,” Sterbenz told USA Today Outdoors. “I also thought maybe the Tesla needed service since the wires went under the hood, or maybe it needed to connect. After seeing the person seemed okay, I drove on.”

Sterbenz said he later learned that the person was simply “working from home” out in the park. Using his Tesla as a de facto office, the man was taking conference calls from his driver’s seat with the beauty of the park as his screen saver.

“I was a bit jealous I didn’t have that setup so I could jump on Webex calls,” Sterbenz said of himself. “I had never seen anyone with a portable Starlink roadside on the hood in the park. Takes ‘work from home’ to a whole new level. A big congrats to him for the ingenuity.”

The Tesla from Yellowstone National Park could access internet because of its orbital infrastructure

Teslas can access the high-speed internet from anywhere on the planet thanks to the thousands of satellites rotating around Earth. In March, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Starlink satellites will account for over two-thirds of all satellites in orbit. Musk, who also is the CEO of SpaceX, estimated that more than 4,200 Starlink satellites will be operational by 2024.

SpaceX’s Starlink service currently provides internet to around 250,000 subscribers worldwide. Musk promises that the growth of the satellite network will improve the speed and latency of the service. Starlink internet service currently provides download speeds of approximately 100Mbps for users in the U.S. More importantly, users can access it from anywhere on the globe — at least, that’s the goal.

As of the end of March, SpaceX had sent more than 2,000 Starlink satellites into orbit. Its first Starlink launch occurred back in May 2019 and they haven’t looked back since. More than 1,600 of those satellites are operational.