Enlarge /. The SpaceX Starlink satellite dish is halfway through a demolition.
SpaceX says a factory is being built in Austin, Texas to develop systems to make satellite dishes, wireless routers, and other devices for the Starlink satellite broadband network. The news came from a job posting for an automation and control engineer that was reported in a story on local news channel KXAN on Tuesday.
"To keep pace with global demand, SpaceX is breaking ground for a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Austin, TX," the job ad said. "The Automation & Controls Engineer will play a key role as we strive to manufacture millions of consumer devices that we ship direct to customers (Starlink dishes, WiFi routers, mounting hardware, etc.)."
The factory will apparently not make the dishes and cutters on site, but will develop systems that will improve the manufacturing process. "Specifically, they will design and develop control systems and software for production line machines to ultimately overcome the toughest mechanical, software, and electrical challenges associated with high-volume manufacturing, with a focus on flexibility, reliability, maintainability, and ease of use Benefit ", it said in the job advertisement.
Starlink is in beta and serves over 10,000 customers. The Federal Communications Commission has requested permission to deploy up to 5 million user terminals in the United States. SpaceX calls this hardware "Dishy McFlatface" and receives transmissions from SpaceX's near-earth orbital satellites. Please see our article on a Dishy McFlatface demolition for more information on the internal pieces of hardware. See this article for more pictures of the bowl in its fully intact condition.
Starlink charges $ 99 per month plus a one-time fee of $ 499 for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and router. Starlink recently started taking pre-orders for services that will be available in the second half of 2021.
Shipping to 25 countries this year
The new job posting states that the successful candidate will be based in Austin, but will spend up to 25 percent of the time at SpaceX's Los Angeles headquarters "until the Austin facility is fully established." The new engineer will impact Starlink's ability to ship hardware this year. The person will "set, implement and maintain schedules and budgets to ensure project completion as we strive to deliver to more than 25 countries by the end of the year," the job posting states.
The engineer is expected to "design, develop and manage automation and control projects for the production of consumer electronics that are easy to use for people around the world, but technically very sophisticated – this includes the initial brainstorming in the factory, the online – Commissioning and proof of installment capability and eventual handover to operational teams. "The engineer will also" call the spearhead facility and conceptualize the first equipment by carefully weighing product specifications, process requirements, complexity of the layout, costs and lead times, "says it in the job posting.
We asked SpaceX for more details on plans for the Austin facility, when it will open, and where exactly the dishes and cutters will be made. We'll update this article when we get a response.
The new SpaceX factory would be located near Tesla's planned car factory in Austin. SpaceX's founder and CEO Elon Musk is also the CEO of Tesla.