Elon Musk’s Starlink space internet goes into ‘thermal shutdown’ in hot weather

Starlink customer support apparently said that the dish will deactivate at 50 degrees Celcius

Adam Smith@adamndsmith
Friday 18 June 2021 14:09

Elon Musk’s SpaceX internet service is overheating, with Starlink support reportedly saying the terminals will go into “thermal shutdown” once they reach a certain temperature.

This week, a Starlink beta user posted a screenshot of an error message from the Starlink app: “Offline: Thermal shutdown”, it states. “Starlink will reconnect after cooling down”.

The user apparently contacted Starlink’s customer support, who said that the dish would “go into thermal shutdown at 122F [50 degrees Celcius] and will restart when it reaches 104F [40 degrees Celcius]" On Reddit, the user said that when he turned his sprinkler onto the dish, he “immediately heard YouTube resume playback”.

The fix, however, was temporary. "When I stopped the sprinkler, [the dish] heated back up and would cycle back on for a few minutes and go back down for thermal shutdown”, the user told Ars Technica.

“The overheating started that day about 11:30am and came back for good about 7:00pm... I’m currently headed to a hardware store to get materials to build a solar shade/sail around the dish to see if it doesn’t impact connection and speed."

Other users have been reportedly experiencing issues on especially warm days, with one user claiming that the temperature of his roof is more than enough to render Starlink unusable.

Starlink is certified to operate from negative 30 degrees Celcius to 40 degrees Celcius and "have self-heating capabilities to deal with a variety of weather conditions," according to an Ask Me Anything on Reddit.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication, but this is not the only issue that the satellite internet service is facing.

Starlink users have been forced to build “idiotic contraption[s]” in order to get around trees, which can easily block the network. Starlink provides an app to help users check for “obstructions” but the phone needs to be at knee height to operate – counter to the high altitude that will actually get users the best service from the internet service.

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