03/07/2022

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s (SpaceX) Starlink internet service also includes directions to the planet Mars on its user equipment, revealed the company’s chief Mr. Elon Musk earlier today. Starlink, which is a satellite constellation that uses small satellites to provide global internet coverage, is currently in its beta testing phase, and for customers who have signed up, it ships several pieces of equipment to enable them to connect with the orbiting satellites. The directions are present on a new user terminal that the company is showing its American users, with the images of the new equipment are visible on Starlink’s American website.

Starlink WiFi Router Includes Pattern For Orbital Transfer Window To Mars From Earth

The new design for Starlink’s user dish and WiFi router come after company executives confirmed that they are working on a new user terminal that will enable them to decrease production times and fulfill the large pre-order backlog that has seen thousands of users wait for months before Starlink can deliver them equipment for internet connectivity.

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The internet service provides its customers with a user dish, a WiFi router and their accessories, which enable a connection to the thousands of the orbiting satellites. These satellites then transfer the user’s data in space before beaming it back to ground stations for completing the link with backend servers.

Now, the user dish, referred to as Dishy McFlatface by Starlink, seems to have gotten a facelift, with the new terminal being rectangularly shaped. Additionally, it also appears that the router also features a simplified design over its predecessor, as it no longer has the sharp edges present on the router currently serving the beta testers.

A screengrab from Starlink’s U.S. site reveals a new design for the router and user dish. Image: Starlink

Commenting on the new equipment, Musk took to Twitter and explained that the design visible on the new router is, in fact, the orbital transfer ellipse from earth to Mars. This ellipse is used by spacecraft traveling to the red plant to insert themselves into the Mars orbit, from where they then decrease their altitude to enter its thin atmosphere.

In Musk’s words:

Pattern on the Starlink router is orbital transfer ellipse from Earth to Mars

11:44 PM · Nov 10, 2021·Twitter for iPhone

While both the dish and the router have been radically redesigned, it’s unclear if they will also have any performance changes over the current equipment. A Taiwanese contract manufacturer manufactures the Starlink WiFi router, and like other technology firms, SpaceX’s internet service is also facing difficulties with production due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage.

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This is not the first time Starlink has referred Mars, with the user agreements for the service also cheekily mentioning that any disputes on the planet will be resolved using laws established there. While SpaceX remains a transportation services provider, Starlink is an integral part of the company’s plans, as it hopes to provide connectivity to potential travelers to the planet.

Additionally, it also plans to use the revenue generated from Starlink to fund the development of its Starship next-generation launch vehicle system or rocket. However, things are a bit unclear at this front as Musk’s rapid development pace of what will be the world’s largest rocket will surpass any timeline that his company has for bringing Starlink cash flow positive.

Starlink’s biggest strength is SpaceX, through which it has been able to establish an aggressive launch cadence to create a constellation of more than a thousand satellites while its competitors struggle to finalize the designs and secure a launch provider for their equipment. The company’s long-term plans include a constellation with 42,000 satellites, plans which are currently a hot point of contention at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).