All-electric satellites are changing the way airline passengers access the internet.

Like a Tesla in space, an all-electric satellite uses electric propulsion to climb from transfer orbit to geostationary orbit and to maintain its position on station, instead of the chemical rockets used by traditional satellites.

Such satellites still need a traditional launcher burning solid or liquid fuel for the brute-force task of getting them into space, but the delicate work of positioning the satellite is done electrically.

Without the need to carry vast quantities of chemical fuel, all-electric satellites can be up to 40 percent lighter at launch.

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All-electric satellites are ushering in zippier in-flight internet access