Each SpaceX Starlink Satellite Has Over 60 Computers

SpaceX software engineers answered questions on Reddit.

Each launch of 60 satellites contains more than 4,000 Linux computers. The Starlink constellation has more than 30,000 Linux nodes (and more than 6,000 microcontrollers) in space right now. Starlink shares its Linux platform infrastructure with Falcon and Dragon. Starlink get the benefit of our more than 180 vehicle-years of on-orbit test time.

The system is generating over 5 terabytes per day of diagnostic data.

Written By Brian Wang, Nextbogfuture.com

13 thoughts on “Each SpaceX Starlink Satellite Has Over 60 Computers”

  1. actually no. the only camera the components hold is for start tracking purposes to position them. Starlink's only use is to provide global broadband internet service.

  2. Best guess is actually supposed to be 10 cm per pixel, as confirmed by Trump when he tweeted a classified photo. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanocallaghan/2019/09/01/trump-accidentally-revealed-the-amazing-resolution-of-u-s-spy-satellites/

    The quote I always liked was that they could read a newspaper from orbit, but I don’t think the laws of physics allow this. So not even a license plate, which was another common saying.

    Still very impressive if you ask me

  3. Don’t they use FPGA? I assume it’s a lot of software-defined radio and radiation hardened computing.

  4. It seems pretty likely that later generations of Starlink will include earth oriented cameras and sensors. Planet labs proved the concept. 24/7 observation of everywhere on earth that just plugs into the existing satellite system would be too valuable a new data business for SpaceX to ignore. NRO NSA already are discussing their own sats based on the platform that are compatible with Starlink.

  5. Now I have to calculate how big the mirror on the telescope has to be to get that at diffraction limited resolution, & then try to get some idea of whether the atmosphere would ruin it at any mirror diameter.

  6. This is what we are told. Low flying satellites that cover the globe at all points have a huge intelligence gathering potential. The FAA had more reason to rush them to service then we know.

  7. Whatever you ISP can do, they can do. SpaceX doesn’t have extra room on them for other spying electronics.

  8. You don’t just slap a CCD on the satellite and turn it in to a spy satellite. 25 square meter resolution wasn’t good in the 1950s.

    Back in the 80s US Spy satellites could make a very well educated guess from space if a quarter landed heads or tails up.

  9. That makes me wonder how good of a telescope/camera one could cram into a Starlink form-factor satellite; have one or two quietly included with every Starlink batch, and you got yourself a pile of spy satellites that other countries don’t know about.

  10. I’m more impressed with the engineering in these satellites than I am with anything else SpaceX/Tesla has done. Really very impressive.

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