Starlink Prepares Ruggedized User Terminal That Can Avoid “Thermal Shutdown” Problem

A Starlink satellite dish mounted on a roof.
Enlarge / The current Starlink user terminal. Pictures of the planned hardened terminal are not yet available.

star link

SpaceX’s Starlink division is planning a new robust satellite dish that can operate in warmer and cooler temperatures. This is the second hardened Starlink dish the company has revealed: the first is designed for vehicles, ships and aircraft, while the newer is a fixed ground station that would provide buildings with broadband.

SpaceX applied to the Federal Communications Commission for permission to deploy the “high-performance fixed ground stations” (or “HP terminals”) in a application filed on friday. PCMag wrote a article about the app Yesterday.

“Compared to other user terminals that SpaceX Services has been authorized to deploy, the HP model has been hardened to handle harsher environments so, for example, it will be able to continue to operate in more extreme extremes of heat and cold, it will have improved snow /ice melting capabilities and will withstand a greater number of thermal cycles,” SpaceX told the FCC. SpaceX said its application should be approved because the terminals will extend the Starlink network into “a range of much more challenging environments.”

“Granting this request would serve the public interest by authorizing a new class of ground component for the SpaceX satellite system that will enhance the range of broadband capabilities available in the United States, and more particularly, for those in challenging environments where robustness is at a premium.” appropriate…Operation under the requested general license will provide first choice for some and promote competition for others in the market for broadband services,” SpaceX wrote.

Terminals sometimes go into “thermal shutdown”

Existing Starlink user terminals go into “thermal shutdown” once they reach 122° Fahrenheit, which has caused outages for some users. Starlink’s standard satellite dishes for home internet users, both the original and newer rectangular models, have an operating temperature range of -22°F to +122°F (-30°C to +50°C) .

It’s unclear if the new rugged handset is only intended for business users or if it would also become an option for home users. SpaceX’s radiation risk analysis suggests it will be deployed in a variety of customer scenarios, but places an emphasis on enterprise customers. “Some HP endpoints will be deployed in occupational/controlled environments, especially for enterprise customers,” he says. While “many installations will be in areas that are inaccessible to the public… it is likely that some HP terminals will also be deployed in general population/uncontrolled environments,” SpaceX wrote.

“Consequently, SpaceX Services will deploy two versions of these terminals that differ only in the software that determines their maximum duty cycle and will ensure that the higher duty cycle is only deployed in areas that are not accessible to the general public,” SpaceX wrote. .

The exact operating temperature range of the planned HP terminals is also unclear. We asked SpaceX questions about the terminal’s operating temperature and potential for domestic use today and will update this article if we hear back.

In addition to the robustness features, the new HP terminals “will operate with higher gain and lower transmission power (thus maintaining a constant EIRP [Effective Isotropic Radiated Power] compared to other SpaceX Services user terminals), [and] a higher scan angle,” the SpaceX app said.

delayed pre-orders

A more pressing question for people who ordered Starlink and haven’t received it yet is when they will finally receive their existing user terminal. SpaceX recently warned that “silicon shortages have delayed production, which has affected our ability to fill orders,” with pre-order estimates for some people pushed back to 2023.

TO Insider report this week said the news site “spoke to more than ten people who have waited nearly 12 months for Starlink internet service” and learned that pre-orders “have received no updates from Elon Musk’s company on when Starlink will be available.” available in your area and if the kit is available. on their way.”

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