Capitalism in space: Some users of SpaceX’s Starlink internet dishes have found that the units shut down if the local weather gets too hot.
The units presently being distributed to customers are beta units, designed to test the system before SpaceX rolls out full commercial availability, so finding such issues is not unexpected. According to one engineer quoted at the link,
Engineers could change Dishy’s mechanical design to achieve better heat rejection, change the dish’s electrical components to expand its thermal operating window, or develop a feature that allows Dishy’s components to operate at reduced power to create less heat. He noted the latter two options would likely be taller orders. “If changes to Dishy’s mechanical design are insufficient to reject heat at a rate exceeding its ability to produce it, software changes will be required to make the system more thermally efficient,” Keiter said. “But if speed limiting and system optimization can’t fix the issue, it will require a significant hardware revision for the commercial launch.”
“Since they’ve got a lot of custom silicon in there—likely the limiting factor—the turnaround time on this would be very slow,” he added. “They could resort to some form of active heat removal like fans or thermoelectric cooling, but then they burn a ton of power which would make Dishy even more power hungry than it already is.”
“This is a really tricky engineering problem with some insanely tight constraints,” Keiter said. “The good news is that the team is pretty sharp.”
I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.
Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.
You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
Cortaro, AZ 85652
Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.