SpaceX Starlink manufacturing unit in Texas will pace up manufacturing of Dishy McFlatface

View of the SpaceX Starlink satellite dish, with the back panel taken off.
Enlarge / The SpaceX Starlink satellite tv for pc dish partway by means of a teardown.

SpaceX says it’s constructing a manufacturing unit in Austin, Texas, to design methods that can assist make satellite tv for pc dishes, Wi-Fi routers, and different tools for its Starlink satellite tv for pc broadband community. The information comes from a job posting for an automation and controls engineer place flagged in a story Tuesday by native information channel KXAN.

“To maintain up with international demand, SpaceX is breaking floor on a brand new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Austin, TX,” the job posting mentioned. “The Automation & Controls Engineer will play a key position as we try to fabricate tens of millions of client going through units that we ship on to prospects (Starlink dishes, Wi-Fi routers, mounting {hardware}, and so forth).”

The manufacturing unit apparently will not make the dishes and routers on website however will as a substitute design methods that enhance the manufacturing course of. “Particularly, they are going to design and develop management methods and software program for manufacturing line equipment—in the end tackling the hardest mechanical, software program, and electrical challenges that include high-volume manufacturing, all whereas sustaining a concentrate on flexibility, reliability, maintainability, and ease of use,” the job posting mentioned.

Starlink is in beta and is serving over 10,000 prospects, and it has requested the Federal Communications Fee for permission to deploy up to 5 million user terminals within the US. SpaceX calls this piece of {hardware} “Dishy McFlatface,” and it receives transmissions from SpaceX’s low-Earth orbit satellites. See our article a few Dishy McFlatface teardown for extra particulars on the {hardware}’s internal parts, and this article for extra photos of the dish in its totally intact state.

Starlink has been charging $99 per thirty days plus a one-time payment of $499 for the person terminal, mounting tripod, and router. Starlink not too long ago started taking preorders for service that might grow to be accessible within the second half of 2021.

Transport to 25 international locations this 12 months

The brand new job posting mentioned the profitable applicant will work in Austin however spend as much as 25 p.c of the time at SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles “till [the] Austin facility is totally established.” The brand new engineer will make an influence on Starlink’s capacity to ship {hardware} this 12 months. The individual will “set, implement, and preserve schedules and budgets to make sure challenge completion as we try to ship to 25+ international locations by the tip of the 12 months,” the job posting mentioned.

The engineer will likely be anticipated to “design, develop, and handle automation and controls initiatives to fabricate client electronics which can be simple for people around the globe to make use of, however are technically very refined—this consists of preliminary manufacturing unit ideation, on-line commissioning and proof of fee functionality, and eventual hand-off to operational groups.” The engineer may also “spearhead facility convey up and preliminary tools conceptual improvement by rigorously balancing product specs, course of necessities, structure complexity, price, and lead-time limits,” the job posting mentioned.

We requested SpaceX for extra element on plans for the Austin facility and when it’ll open, and on the place precisely the dishes and routers will likely be manufactured. We’ll replace this text if we get a solution.

The brand new SpaceX manufacturing unit could be close to Tesla’s planned car factory in Austin. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk can be the CEO of Tesla.

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