Tuesday , July 27 2021

New details and images of SpaceX's Starlink user antennas and planned beta tests will be released

New pictures found in the code The SpaceX Starlink website shows the official appearance of the company's future user satellite terminals – the antennas that customers use to use the massive satellite-to-space satellite constellation that SpaceX is creating. The white disc-shaped device actually looks like a “UFO on a stick”, as Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, once described.

Musk seemed to have confirmed that the user terminal images on Twitter were real afterwards Reply to a user who posted the pictures. "The Starlink terminal has motors that self-align for an optimal viewing angle," he said. "No experienced installer required." He also noted that the design of the terminal had changed slightly. The "latch on the post near the base" is no longer there, and the outstanding ethernet cable in the final version, which SpaceX will sell to customers, is "less intrusive". However, the images largely correspond to the images of the terminals that had leaked on Reddit in June.

SpaceX did not respond to an official request for comment.

These user terminals are an important part of SpaceX's Starlink initiative, which aims to provide global Internet coverage from space. The company has permission from the Federal Communications Commission to orbit nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites, a swarm of spacecraft that would cover the globe and transmit broadband internet to the surface below. To access the satellite system, customers have to buy these small “UFOs” to receive broadband signals from the satellites and to connect to the Internet.

To date, SpaceX has launched nearly 600 Starlink satellites. However, Musk previously claimed that SpaceX needed only 400 satellites to provide "initial operability" and then 800 satellites to achieve "significant operability". SpaceX launched its Starlink satellites in batches of around 60 spacecraft. Another start is planned in the coming days or weeks.

In the meantime, SpaceX is about to launch the beta version of Starlink, which allows early-approved users to test an early version of the system. In June SpaceX has updated its Starlink websiteInterested potential customers can sign up to receive program updates and information about availability in their area. When people provided their zip code and contact information, they received an email from SpaceX saying that the private beta test is expected to begin “later this summer”, followed by public beta tests for people at high altitudes .

Now we have even more details on how this private beta program would work thanks to further input into the code on the Starlink website. A Reddit user / u / Bubby4j found the "Terms of Use" for the private beta program as well as a FAQ page for early users. The edge confirmed that the text and images were available but were hidden on the Starlink website. The code revealed that SpaceX beta testers wanted to provide a “Starlink Kit” consisting of one of the Starlink Dish terminals, a WLAN router, a power supply and brackets for the system. Users have to install the terminal themselves and place it in a place with a "clear view of the northern sky". The code contained a PDF for the installation instructions, but is initially empty.

By accepting the kit, users must agree to test the Starlink system between 30 minutes and an hour daily and give SpaceX feedback on their experience. You must also agree to keep your experience confidential. "You MUST NOT discuss your participation in the beta program online or with anyone outside of your household unless they are SpaceX employees," the website said.

The FAQ page revealed even more details about what users can expect and how they use their terminals. SpaceX claimed that the beta program would begin in the northern United States and southern Canada, starting with those living in rural Washington state communities. Beta testers do not have to pay for their terminals, although they are charged a $ 1 fee to test SpaceX's billing system. The company also found that the internet connection may not be as smooth initially.

"During the Starlink Beta, the service will be suspended because the teams are working to optimize the network," the SpaceX website said. “When you are connected, your service quality is high, but your connection is not consistent. This means that it may support streaming video with some buffering, but is probably not suitable for gaming or work purposes. "

Since all of this information comes from the code on the Starlink website, this information may change. In the meantime, users who have signed up for updates on the Starlink website have recently received emails asking for their addresses so that SpaceX can "improve its ability to provide location-specific updates as our network evolves" .

About Corrie Donnelly

Corrie Donnelly is a computer engineer originally born in Germany. He was writing articles about technology and computer games for websites.

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