Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Some Starlink units shut down if weather gets too hot

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.”


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  • Jay

    Reading the linked article, I am surprised by the operating range for the temperatures “Dishy’s optimal operating temperature is between -22°F to 104°F”.
    I am surprised by the high end temperature of 104°F, that is low especially in an enclosure in my opinion. You would think that this would would have a rating of 130°F. The low end of -22°F is a typical spring day in North Dakota (just joking). I wonder about the hardware type testing they did.
    I don’t think they should make all the units have milspec parts and an operating range of –40° to +185°F, but some of these issues can be fixed by looking at the thermal conductive compound and the aluminum plate. I saw the video on the teardown of “Dishy”: This is not like the the Hughesnet dish with the big aluminum enclosure for the horn/transverter. I wonder if increasing the number conductive compound plugs and increasing the thickness of the aluminum plate would take care of this problem.
    This problem sounds similar to a product I worked on that had a heating issue as well. We looked at heat pipes and fans, which would drive up the costs and power consumption, so we used an aluminum slug and throttled down the clock frequency on the processor to solve the problem.
    I remember reading on the Starlink website that the “Dishy” can melt snow. Now we know how it is done!

  • William F

    I think they are planning a replacement for Dishy which will have separate transmit and receive components. This is only a beta test setup. Remember “better than nothing”

  • wayne

    On what frequency are these dishes operating?

  • Jay

    My only complaint is I have not received my “Dishy”! If Starlink is reading this and I solve your thermal mass problem, will I get one soon?

    To answer Wayne’s question, here are the frequencies from the website:
    -Transmissions from satellite to user terminals: 10.7 – 12.7 GHz and 37.5 – 42.5 GHz
    -Satellite to gateway transmissions: 17.8 – 18.6 GHz and 18.8 – 19.3 GHz and 37.5 – 42.5 GHz
    -Transmissions from terminals to satellites: 14.0 – 14.5 GHz and 47.2 – 50.2 GHz and 50.4 – 51.4 GHz
    -Transmissions from gateways to satellites: 27.5 – 29.1 GHz and 29.5 – 30.0 GHz and 47.2 – 50.2 GHz and 50.4 – 51.4 GHz
    -Tracking, telemetry and control (downlink): 12.15 – 12.25 GHz and 18.55 – 18.60 GHz and 37.5 – 37.75 GHz
    -Tracking, telemetry and control (uplink): 13.85 – 14.00 GHz and 47.2 – 47.45 GHz

  • Alex Andrite

    I have always thought that beryllium is cool.
    Not that I would machine it.
    But still.

    Heat is such a noisy drag.

    Chill !

  • pzatchok

    How about a solar powered fan?

  • My Dishy has been running fine since February. Dishy has recently moved to its permanent home on the roof. Here in Maine I’m more worried about wind than heat! but I’m keeping an eye on it.

    The debug display currently shows the following:

    “alerts”: {
    “motorsStuck”: false,
    “thermalThrottle”: false,
    “thermalShutdown”: false

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