Starlink satellite dish teardown shows major engineering and attention to detail

If there’s something that could be said about Elon Musk’s products, it’s that they’re very well engineered. Products and machines produced and built by an Elon Musk-led company usually rank among the best in their field, from Tesla’s battery packs and powertrains to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. And if there is any hint of a teardown of Starlink’s dish, SpaceX’s consumer-grade internet satellite receiver features some classic Musk-level engineering.

Engineer Ken Keiter was lucky enough to receive a Starlink user terminal, but instead of using the actual satellite internet service, he opted to carry out a teardown of the satellite dish of the system, affectionately called “Dishy McFlatface” by SpaceX. Keiter’s teardown process was shared in a 55-minute YouTube video featured dedicated sections about the satellite dish’s mechanical and electronic parts.

There may be a humorous and meme-worthy name for Dishy McFlatface, but it is at its heart a very well-engineered product. For one, the mechanism of the satellite dish features a sturdy construction with two rotating motors that enable Dishy to reposition himself. The wires of the system are also considerably thick, hinting at the Starlink system’s heavy-duty existence. Overall, even in areas that experience bad weather, Dishy McFlatface seems to be a product built to stand the test of time.

However, considering that Dishy’s mechanical components are amazing, the electronics of the satellite dish are even more impressive. In order to reach the Starlink dish’s internal circuitry, Keiter ended up damaging a metal shield, but one might argue that the damage was worth it. Thanks to this kind of sacrifice, Keiter was able to demonstrate the PCB and antenna array of Dishy McFlatface, all of which are intelligently built and set up in their own right. The engineer noted that the attention to detail of SpaceX’s Starlink system is admirable, especially given that the Internet satellite system is intended for consumer use.

The teardown by Dishy McFlatface reveals that Starlink’s user terminal is not user-repairable. The entire satellite dish is constructed almost like a tank, and solidly bonded into one full, sleek package. Nevertheless, with all the technology that has gone into developing Starlink, as well as the attention to detail in the real satellite dish, one might argue that the $500 price of the device today is quite a steal.

Check out a teardown of Starlink’s Dishy McFlatface in the video below. 

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