SpaceX Starlink Dish 'Snow Melt Mode' Warmth Attracts Cats

SpaceX Starlink Dish 'Snow Melt Mode' Warmth Attracts Cats

Featured Image Source: Aaron Taylor via Twitter

SpaceX already beams Starlink satellite internet to over 140,000 customers across 20 countries. The company is primarily focused on serving rural and remote communities around the world where internet is unreliable or completely unavailable. SpaceX operates approximately 1,944 satellites in Low Earth Orbit that directly beam internet data to customer user terminals. Overall, the company plans to launch over 12,000 satellites to provide robust internet service globally. 

On New Year’s Eve, a Starlink user shared a cute photograph of five cats on a Starlink dish antenna. –“Starlink works great until the cats find out that the dish gives off a little heat on cold days,” they Tweeted. SpaceX deployed ‘Snow Melt Mode’ to the Starlink user antenna in 2020, the feature enables the dish to detect the temperature and it “produces additional heat to mitigate signal attenuation caused by snow build-up on the face of the user terminal,” a company representative said. Starlink users have shared via social media that the dish antenna does a great job at melting snow and, apparently, also at keeping cats warm!  (Haha)


SpaceX engineers say that the user phased-array dish antennas to access the broadband network are more advanced than antennas aboard fighter jets. They release software upgrades to the dish and Wi-Fi router every month to ensure customers have a better quality service as the satellite constellation grows. The technology enables the dish to search for an optimal view of the sky and is capable of reorienting itself with small motors. SpaceX engineers shared how the dish is capable of locating the satellites in orbit —“The Starlink actually has no knowledge of the satellites when it powers on; the constellation is updating all the time so this would be difficult to keep up to date,” they said, “The Starlink is able to electronically scan the sky in a matter of milliseconds and lock into the satellite overhead, even though its travelling 17,500 mph overhead. When it detects a satellite the Starlink hones in on its position and makes a request to join the internet. After that, the dish is able to download a schedule of which satellites to talk to next and with that, it can point right at the satellites when the time comes,” the engineer(s) said via a RedditAMA in 2020.

Most recently, SpaceX released a new Starlink antenna that is rectangular and features more improvements. As of today, Starlink users report internet download speeds ranging between 100Mbps and 250Mbps (Megabits per second), some have reported speeds over 300Mbps! Long-term, SpaceX officials said they look forward to beaming internet service over 300Mbps with low-latency of 20 milliseconds. For more information visit SpaceX’s official website 

Featured Image Source: Aaron Taylor via Twitter

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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