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

SpaceX says it’s constructing a manufacturing unit in Austin, Texas, to design programs that can assist make satellite tv for pc dishes, Wi-Fi routers, and different gear 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 narrative Tuesday by native information channel KXAN.

“To maintain up with world demand, SpaceX is breaking floor on a brand new, cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Austin, TX,” the job posting mentioned. “The Automation & Controls Engineer will play a key function as we try to fabricate hundreds of thousands of client going through gadgets that we ship on to clients (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 an alternative design programs that enhance the manufacturing course of. “Particularly, they may design and develop management programs and software program for manufacturing line equipment—finally tackling the hardest mechanical, software program, and electrical challenges that include high-volume manufacturing, all whereas sustaining a give attention to flexibility, reliability, maintainability, and ease of use,” the job posting mentioned.

Starlink is in beta and is serving over 10,000 clients, and it has requested the Federal Communications Fee for permission to deploy as much as 5 million consumer 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 interior parts, and this text for extra footage of the dish in its absolutely intact state.

Starlink has been charging $99 monthly plus a one-time charge of $499 for the consumer terminal, mounting tripod, and router. Starlink just lately started taking preorders for service that will turn out to be accessible within the second half of 2021.

Transport to 25 international locations this yr

The brand new job posting mentioned the profitable applicant will work in Austin however spend as much as 25 % of the time at SpaceX headquarters in Los Angeles “till [the] Austin facility is absolutely established.” The brand new engineer will make an influence on Starlink’s potential to ship {hardware} this yr. The individual will “set, implement, and keep schedules and budgets to make sure mission completion as we try to ship to 25+ international locations by the top of the yr,” the job posting mentioned.

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

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

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

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