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Outdoor cats are using $500 Starlink satellite dishes as self-heating beds (smithsonianmag.com)
177 points by perihelions 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 137 comments

If you built a small elevated box with an entry hole, placed the starlink on top, and then put a plastic dome or shroud around the starlink so cats couldn't rest on top you'd make everyone happy. The warmth of the dish would keep the little nest below it comfortable for cats, and you'd be happy with good reception.

We have a pretty decent hawk and owl population so perhaps that discourages cats from sleeping out in the open on a serving plate.

Cats like to have a perch to see the comings and goings in their territory, at least during the day. I believe in the big viral photo the cats in the dish have a heated cathouse nearby, which they only use at night.

if it's possible to put a plastic dome, can we just make the dome such that the snow won't build up?

(which will probably make self-heating unnecessary... or are there temperature requirements?)

Starlink dishes don't have a dedicated heater inside to melt snow. I don't know where the author of the article got that idea from. They are just power hungry and produce enough waste heat that it's not a problem.

I think the idea is they can run extra-inefficiency to produce even more heat if needed.

It would have to be a pretty sharp shape to deter a cat, perhaps a traffic cone type configuration would work well.

> Starlink satellite dishes have a self-heating feature to melt snow...

No, they don't. They just run hot. There are a ton of little ASICs behind the flat plane running the various antenna bits required for the beam forming (directing the beam without physically moving the dish, once it finds a spot it mostly stays put), and they all put out some good heat. Plus, the high frequency RF involved isn't the most efficient in terms of antennas.

Yes, they're warm. No, it's not a dedicated heater mode.

Yes, it is a dedicated “snow melt mode” deployed in December 2020: https://turtleherding.com/2020/12/starlink-update-2020-12-22...

yes, they do. they have a deicer.

Source? At least the first gen Dishys have nothing of the sort, though they will draw more power when covered with snow - presumably due to increased attenuation and the need for higher radiated power to maintain a link.

Mine idles around 85W, 100-105W when transmitting heavily. Basically all that heat goes into the flat surface of the dish, which is enough to melt off snow. But it's not a dedicated heating functionality, and I've not seen a teardown that demonstrates a dedicated heating device.

Though I imagine a cat attenuates the link a good bit and encourages heating.

The source is linked in another comment below, but to clarify, there is no extra heater hardware, there's a software function that ramps up the dish power to make the chips run hotter to melt the snow.

Wow, that's a lot of power for a device running 24/7.

Its actually the main thing holding me back. The power consumption alone is as expensive as the cheapest fiber connection I can get.

Why would you ever even consider Starlink if you have fiber availability?

Because here despite the finer, they still dare to sell 50, 100mbit connexions, 1Gbit max. I would like to liberate myself from this local oligarchy.

that is very confusing still, can you elaborate?

Unlike is some other countries where I've lived, where fibre is basically sold as whatever the line will carry (5,8 GB for instance), here providers still work under the assumption 1 Gbit is the fastest they'll ever have to provide (for a significant sum) and have a highly segmented lineup with speeds sometimes down to less then 50mbit, just to make people pay exorbitantly more (we have the most expensive internet in all of Europe). Three parties control the entire market and it is making them good money.

Starlink could be a way out of this market, but alas is not yet (well, they're actually price competitive, if you exclude the cost of Dishy and the power consumption).

Yeah it's about half my baseline house power draw. And I'm a nerd with several 24/7 servers so it would be higher than someone who doesn't.

By baseline I mean nobody home, lights and appliances off but internet, WiFi, IoT stuff etc all running.

Wow, usually the refrigerator dominates.

Oh yeah I've taken this with the fridge not currently cooling.

However my fridge is less than 50W.. I don't have a huge one like they do in the states (we call those "American refridgerators" here and they're a luxury). It's on about one third of the time (half the time in summer) so it adds about 25W of baseline load.

I actually find it a bit too much. I'd be happier if I could bring it down to 100W. But it's hard to do so. All those little wall warts add up and I just love my home automation. I have 5 1gbit switches alone (8-ports), 3 WiFi APs and then of course all the smart gizmos.

it's in the article. whether it draws more power to heat a BUC or has a dedicated heater, it's a deicer.

Wow, one of these would double my electricity usage.

That implies your electricity usage is ~2.4 kWh/day. How do you get the low?

In the US, an idling desktop computer, an energy efficient refrigerator, and a fan for household air circulation would be enough to exceed that.

I just download usage details from my electric company for a bill from the middle of summer when my usage is lowest, which provides usage broken down by 15-minute intervals, and the lowest 15-minute interval I had was using electricity at a rate of 4.8 kWh/day.

(The highest was a rate of 193 kWh/day. Probably had a 15-minute interval where the water heater was on, at the same time as the electric clothes dryer, while I was cooking something using the electric oven/stove, and microwaving something, while the well pump was running, and the iMac was doing something CPU intensive, while the fridge happened to be running).

I think you mean ~1.2kWh/day (0,05kW*24h).

GP doesn’t claim its double their electricity use, but that it would double it, which means it’s about equal to their current electricity usage.

Still, 2.4kWh is very low. I think it, in the western world, even is hard to achieve for a single person household that doesn’t use any electricity for heating or cooking, has a gas-powered refrigerator and no, or a gas-powered, clothes drier.

Clearly using a CAT5 physical layer.

On that note, the new starlink connector is absurd. It's apparently shielded cat5e but with a custom connector[0].

0: https://redd.it/s0rih3 and https://redd.it/rmtxjq (direct link to main image: https://l.judge.sh/ZCg5 )

Looks almost like mini-HDMI? Is there a better way to do an outdoor Cat5 connector?

On mine, the Cat5 female port always ends up being a home for small spider families.

Just plug an empty connector in it.

I have. They can still get through, maybe around the latch tab. Insects can be quite tiny.

that judge link for some reason inserts emoji into the address bar and messes up the back button for one frame

utf-8 emojis are legal in URLs, so i've been trying to use them instead of adjectives or random characters to obscure image uploads to my personal domain. Had to create a shortlink / redirect since HN strips out emojis entirely, but I don't seem to have your back button issue on Chrome nor Firefox.

This must be the only situation where upgrading to CAT6 will make it slower.

"CATS: All your base are belong to us."

So hang on! We named bugs so because we discovered actual bugs in the early computers (in the eniac, I believe)

Should we rename timeouts to "cats"?

"I tried pinging your website, but I had a cat"


Hard truth: Cats simply enjoy sitting on absolutely anything that wasn't intended for them to sit on. It doesn't even have to be warm for that. It's one of the oldest constants of the universe.

I live in the upper latitudes, and have both a Starlink and a couple outdoor cats who like to get into trouble. Unfortunately, I haven't spotted any of them really approaching the dish itself...

I think it mostly comes down to two things:

1. The satellite dish doesn't warm up that much. It basically just heats itself to be hot enough to melt the ice, and that's more or less it. It still feels fairly cool to the touch on a winter day. 90% of the time, I'd imagine your router will be hotter than the dish itself.

2. The dish also makes a very faint whirring noise as it tracks satellites across the sky. You can only really notice it when you get within 5 feet of it, but I'm pretty sure my cats hate it. Sometimes they'll huddle at the base of the dish if it's a particularly cold day, but most of the time the motor sounds are enough to drive them away.

Knowing how much companies like Starlink like useless novelty features, maybe a "cat deterrence" button in the app would be in order. Make the dish spin around a few times until the cats get scared. I dunno, food for thought.

Strange about the whirring noise.. The motors are only to do the initial alignment, the tracking of sats is done purely with the phased array which should not make any noise (nothing physically moving)

I think with cats sitting on it it would heat up more due to the insulation provided :)

Wow those things must be strong! That's 50+ pounds of cat in that picture.

Cats. Always trying to take over the internet.

Starlink’s AUP lists quite a few types of behaviour that will mean you get cut off:


If you are accused of being cruel and they uphold that complaint then bye bye connection. What if some crazy Twitter mob accuses you of animal cruelty for throwing your cats out in the snow?

The implication is there that they monitor all your traffic to be able to enforce these rules. If one were to encrypt ones traffic to evade SpaceX’s surveillance, is that too a violation of the AUP?

In my olde neighborhood, a neighbor of mine [due to an allergic husband] was an "outdoor cat only" meow-by-mouth only place for several decades. I took care of the feeding whilst they were on vacation.

It's been a while since, but stories like this make me smile if I was still having a going thing with these neighbors.

This is a great example of unexpected design challenges.

Tesla has dog mode. Starlink has cat mode.

DOGE mode?

Having the dish on the ground isn't too smart either the snow will get deeper and cover it cats or no cats.

Heats people too - https://twitter.com/lucysrausch/status/1477211906817413120

(Read some of the follow up comments)

Maybe they could do a software update that rotates the dish if connectivity drops, or a least give the owner the option of remotely turning on a dish rotate function.

Glad to see this is getting some lighthearted response. Surprised because lots of these cats are probably mousers ^_^

I don't imagine a "can't sit on this" shaped radome would be too expensive.

Though would that have looked good enough for initial PR?

Oh, I meant as an optional thing for people where this kind of thing is an issue.

Kessler's cat syndrome?

cat-estrophic failure

I'm impressed that it still works, albeit at at lower speeds.

I wouldn't be surprised if the squirrels like them too.

We now need a Starlink dish in Neko Atsume

That is adorable

I still can't fathom why anyone thinks it's OK to leave cats outside to roam free. They decimate the songbird population and kill for fun. You want to talk about low-hanging fruit to protect mother nature? Keep your cats inside or tethered if they're outside... we expect it from dog owners, and rightly so. Not sure why people with cats think they should be free to roam.

"Eschew flamebait. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29943374.

They are killing machines. Cute, cuddly killing machines. But they also kill vermin that eat garden plants. If you've got a serious vegetable garden going, outdoor cats can really help take care of gophers, rabbits, squirrels, and mice. Won't take care of the deer though, but a good fence and a 12 gauge will.

I'd go with a rat terrier or other such rodent killing dog.

But then you'd own a rat terrier.

> I still can't fathom why anyone thinks it's OK to leave cats outside to roam free.

See, I can't fathom the opposite. Cats belong outdoors. I will never have an indoor cat. Vote me down as much as you like, THAT is unnatural (I will also not have exoctic cats that could only live indoors).

The greatest danger to songbirds is human changes to the environment, not cats, by several orders of magnitude. Animals having predators is not exactly unnatural, to put it carefully.

Although I do wish we could create cats, by selection or some day by gene editing, that leave birds alone completely.

>The greatest danger to songbirds is human changes to the environment, not cats, by several orders of magnitude. Animals having predators is not exactly unnatural, to put it carefully.

We aren't going to stop creating buildings with windows. Outside of that, the largest killer of birds is by cats, by a long shot. Which is literally 100% preventable. And no, humans are NOT an order of magnitude more than cats, not even close.


You should read your sources more carefully. The article you posted explicitly makes the same argument as nosianu:

> First, it should be stated that the single most significant threat to bird populations is habitat destruction, in all of its forms and with all of its causes. The various causes of mortality outlined below kill individual birds directly, and can certainly have an adverse effect on population size, but can actually have a beneficial effect in some cases. Studies of hunting have documented that in certain cases killing small numbers of birds can improve the health and survival of the remaining birds. As long as the habitat is intact, the population has the potential to replace the lost birds.

Given all the many articles about the decline of many kinds of birds, your claim that cats are to blame is plain wrong. That was not the conclusion in any of those many articles that we could read right here on HN. Lack of environment and of food - insects is the usual culprit named in them.

Cats are one reason, but certainly not the dominating one. Neither would cats matter at all without the other reasons because there would be plenty of birds.

In this discussion I'll take the downvotes with pride, this is getting ridiculous.

Are pet cats not considered a human change to the environment? Feral cat colonies are an entirely different ecosystem than pet cats, from what I can gather.

Edit: Also, I can understand your sentiment for not wanting to have an indoor cat. It seems 'unnatural' to me too. I want to them to have as much freedom and joy as possible, but... I've also had outdoor cats that just get run over, so. I don't know what the right way is.

The "change to the environment" that has the biggest effect is habitat destruction. There are places, especially remote islands, where cats have had significant effects on the environment, but in most places predation of songbirds by cats is dwarfed by predation from other animals.

That seems like a reasonable explanation to me, but to just give a reference for my train of thought... I was thinking of Macquarie Island, which has a weird history of animal/pest control. Rodents were introduced to the island, then cats to help with the rodents... and then the cats wiped out the native seabird population.

Edit: Just realized I'm mentioning a small island, like you said, hehe.


Housecats being anywhere other than desert predators _is_ a human change to the environment. They were then introduced places other than Egypt and the levant because of how efficient they are at pest removal from grain stores. From a certain perspective they're as much farm equipment as the plow. If we had somehow lucked into say a armored hog that could be convinced to plow a field as it searched for truffles or something, we'd consider that an issue for them to free roam on every continent and decimate local wildlife.

feral hogs are a huge problem. They do decimate local wildlife.

Sure, I was just trying to tie it into more of analog of farm equipment gone awry than agricultural products.

You're totally right though.

> Animals having predators is not exactly unnatural, to put it carefully.

uh... but if those predators are bred by humans, it's unnatural

We do? I know of pup mills, I am unaware of cat mills. Maybe for exotic cats, but those would be the types people keep at home because they would not fare so well outside anyway.

And since when is one species doing something that benefits another unnatural? That exists among animals too.

Well, cats wouldn't be anywhere except for Africa and maybe eastern Europe if it wasn't for humans.

(Yes, I know wildcats exist, but their ranges and populations are limited)

hm I guess you're trying to make this into cat vs dog owners...

but it's about:

* properly keeping your pet from harm / harming others *

> And since when is one species doing something that benefits another unnatural?

well I guess humans interfering nature is "natural" after all... I mean, we're "part of nature"

Personally, I agree with you. But consider the other viewpoint of the person who cannot fathom keeping cats locked inside away from nature.

A lot of cats are just strays, too.

If they're feral there's not a lot we can do. We can capture them and fix them so they don't reproduce but they can't be homed and killing them would be evil.

Outdoor cats are a bit more complex but its also cruel to lock up an animal all day in a home. They need stimulation and exercise.

The real fix is to ban pet ownership. No one likes to talk about that because so many of us need pets for emotional stability and companionship, but pretty much all pet ownership is unethical. Birds getting killed really is the tip of the iceberg, as in, its the most visible part of this problem, but so much more lies below it, supporting it and creating this situation.

I love animals and don't eat them, nor do I keep them as pets. I fully believe this is the right way to go in life. People attacking this type of pet owner vs that type of pet owner are missing the forest for the trees here, and I suspect getting a nice ego boost over being the "better" animal jailer. Logically, emotionally, and ethically, pet ownership simply cannot be made humane, good for pets, or good for wildlife. The only fix is to get rid of pet culture entirely.

> killing them would be evil.

Would it? Killing a pest? We kill rats in cities, cockroaches, termites, gophers, moles, voles...

> The real fix is to ban pet ownership.

I'm sorry but you're out of your god damn mind. To choose not to own one, sure. But to outlaw a practice that in part defines humanity? Because you don't like it?

Pet ownership can 100% be done humanely, good for animals and good for wildlife. I know because I've done it in my own life.

> pretty much all pet ownership is unethical

Convince me, because nothing you've written above has made a case. Tell me how my cats receiving daily meds for their health issues, receiving better medical care than I get, having their choice of multiple varieties of foods and treats, having perches at all heights, having a fucking three-tier custom catio is somehow abusing them and unethical.

How could I possibly convince you of the empathy for animals you've never developed? This is like asking someone to prove a theorem to someone who has never studied math or science.

I expressed my opinion. I fully accept I cannot ever change an adult mind, especially in a venue like this and over such a complicated subject and one that the status quo prefers not discuss (animal rights, animal welfare, meat industry, dairy industry, pet trade, pet mental illness, pet inbreeding, pet breeding in general, and general animal suffering by humans) because so much of near every society is built on killing, eating, exploiting, and imprisoning animals for our pleasure. Its not the most pressing issue, but when I see dog owners fighting over cat owner over dead birds or whatever, I do like to point out that there's a major forest for the trees problem here.

And yes its futile on some level. A bit like being against cigarettes 60 years ago, or being again racism during segregation, or being against slavery at the founding of this country, etc. Collectively, we're not here yet for this, but I hope someday we are. I see so much hopeful things in regards to animal welfare in gen-z and younger millenials that I really do think change is on the horizon, maybe in 20-30 years we'll see pet ownership like we'll see the meat industry, or the crocodile purse industry, etc.

I remember PETA being mocked for decades for pointing out how "all american" and "family friendly" and "humane" places like Oceanworld/Seaworld/whatever with their captive whales were, but Joe Beer Drinker "hates bleeding heart liberals" Netflix Watcher saw Blackfish almost 10 years ago and more importantly, so did his children, and the narrative slowly changed over the years as those children became college students, and workers, and leaders, and took the voice from the older generation and said "no, this is inhumane." Its not futile to point this out. Its not rude to say that people like you are on the wrong side of history. Its okay to get downvoted the same way HN 1955 would downvote me for saying cigarettes were unhealthy and cause diseases and kill people. We're not there yet, especially in a conservative leaning forum like this one.

In other words, hello from the future, we won't look kindly on the status quo you fought so hard to preserve.

I strongly recommend Douglas Adam’s except about the cow that wants to be eaten.



For anyone interested.

It's not really that compelling. It's a funny scenario.

if the cow that wants to be eaten doesn’t make you feel different about conditioning and transactions I question how much you actually thought about it.

Well enlighten me then.

Everyone says they decimate songbirds, but all the cats I see running around my neighborhood do nothing to keep the birds from waking me up in the morning. Must be the stimulus payments, damn cats these days...

Many types of bird, as well as and small reptiles and mammals.

And yet for millions of years birds and cats have co-existed.

>I still can't fathom why anyone thinks it's OK to leave cats outside to roam free.

Because my cat wants to go outside and roam arround. It's what he prefers. My other cat prefers staying inside and doesn't like going outside very much. Sure cats kill things, bring you "presents", or bring things they've caught inside but that's just part of the experience of having a cat.

I have five cats. They are indoor / outdoor (I get them inside before dark). Living in a rural (forest) area, there is a fair amount of critters around. In the last six years, there have been maybe 6-8 birds caught and about 2 chickarees (small, fast squirrels - one was caught my since deceased senior cat).

Cats are hunters for sure, but not all decimate things.

I have heard that cats murder so many birds... but just the shear math of it seems to make it likely a myth. I've watched cats outside, it takes them _forever_ to kill even 1 bird, let alone 20 a day, or whatever the claim is.

They kill mice, squirrels, rabbits, ground stuff, etc... _way_ faster and more frequently.

Some guy put a camera on his cat for a week and put the vid on YouTube. The cat killed like 50 animals in a week.


the claim is 20-40 a year, which is really low sounding to me… keep in mind these are animals that can survive on their own, does 1 bird a week really seem mythical to you

[pdf] https://abcbirds.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Loss-et-al.-...

From your link:

> We estimate that cats in the contiguous United States annually kill between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds (median ¼ 2.4 billion) (Fig. 1a), with ~69% of this mortality caused by un-owned cats. The predation estimate for un-owned cats was higher primarily due to predation rates by this group averaging three times greater than rates for owned cats.

The range of estimate is staggering, and that it's un-owned cats are the primary issue.

But it's not _only_ the numbers I take issue with, it's the conclusion people take with it and how they communicate it. "Cats are killing BILLIONS of birds! Keep your cat in, or don't even own one."

Depends on the place, depends on the birds.


They also keep chipmunks at bay so they don't relocate your crocuses into a different spot in your yard.

After all, cats are hunting carnivores.

Crocuses in chipmunk territory sounds like the exposition of some sort of dystopian future but it's now!

My cat used to kill a bunch of rats/mice...

I think the solution to this is to just not have cats. They don't belong inside. And they're invasive most places they're kept, and their populations are artificially elevated by people housing and feeding them.

As a recent convert from dogs to cats, I have to respond with a friendly 'fuck you!' to that solution. I have never bonded with an animal more than I have my most senior cat. And it's mutual, she sleeps between my legs.

I care about ecology at large, but at home I care about my cats more.

I had one. He was great. No problems, even pooped outside on his own. I loved him, we were best friends.

Never again.

Elon in shambles that he didn’t think to charge extra for this.

He's going to have to find a way to pump a cat-based crypto.


Honestly, if you like money this is something you can do.

You can do this and avoid ripping off other people by setting an equally balanced liquidity pool with 100% of the tokens created, and letting them play greater fool theory with each other. At this point its just the entertainment sector. Nobody can sell below the initial price of the token due to how liquidity pool systems work, and this means you are have no way to make them your exit liquidity.

You can still make money by programming in a trading tax that is also auto-liquidated to any token you like, such as a stablecoin.

This is extremely common, things like this are launched probably once every minute. No advertising necessary since people and bots just watch the blockchains for liquidity pools being deployed. They want to be first, so trade and ask questions later. Its up to you to consider the community, but you can build in a lot of confidence by burning your liquidity pool access and doing some other obvious things so people don't have to care about what your intentions are.

What is an "equally balanced liquidity pool" and why would no one be able to ever sell below the initial price of the token?

liquidity pools in AMM systems (automated market making) act as ballast systems with two assets. very similar to two pools of water in an actual ballast. when people buy it adds their liquid asset to side A, and removes a proportion from the new illiquid asset in side B.

If they sold it would re-add it back to side B and subtrack from side A.

Since nobody has more tokens outside of the ballast system, there is no way for it to go below the initial balance. which isn't much consolation for anybody that buys second or third or later, but does provide confidence to all of them that nobody has an advantage or interest in dumping it below its initial ratio, which is functionally the price.

this has been a big boon for the crypto space over the last 18 months, a very phenomenal concept, as all assets can be permissionlessly traded if anyone takes the initiative to set them up. instead of begging a shady exchange to list a project under shady conditions, thats pretty much over now.

Sorry, I've tried to parse this several times and I'm just confused as to how the system actually functions. Like, I have a dollar. I buy a token at the ICO price of a dollar. I dont understand how you can guarantee no one can ever buy a token for less than a dollar. What happens if I need US currency today?

In the dollar:token pool lets say the ratio is initially set to 1.00 and nobody else owns the token, all the tokens are in the pool. The issuer put all their own dollars and their own tokens in the pool. If it helps to know, the issuer needed capital to do this and is not earning anything from people buying. The liquidity pool is owning all the assets.

When you buy with your dollar, you increase the number of dollars in the pool, and decrease the number of tokens in the pool. So the ratio cannot be 1.00 it must be 1.01 or something above 1.00.

When you want US currency today you sell it back and restore the ratio closer to 1.

It is not possible for anyone to restore further below the initial balance because the maximum tokens in existence could only be used to get the dollars other people put in, but not the issuer’s capital.

So the pool is an artificial entity with the rule of "I will buy or sell token X at the ratio current ratio of dollars to token X that I have" that initially owns 100% of token X?

As an aside, does this concept exist outside the crypto space? It seemed like you may have implied it was a standard object in finance.

Think of them as unincorporated orphaned general partnerships, similar to a trust

Have not seen them outside of the crypto space, it would be ideal if they did, they are great for enabling liquidity of fungible assets without needing to court a market maker or exchange

You’ve put enough thought into this to just go ahead and do it, I think.

I have other stuff to do and make enough. Actually there was something I wanted to buy, yeah this could be a quick fun thing to do.

I can also do it for other ppl, email in bio

Like Stoner Cats!

Haha, this is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. Wouldn't be surprised at all to see Musk incorporate this into the marketing in some way.

I just figured this was a feature that improved the reception, something like the old (true?) urban-legend that holding your car unlocker keyfob up against your skull increases its range by using the fluids in your head as an amplifier.

It uses the bones in your skull as an antenna amplifier and it works. This is pretty easy to test out. I can work my car remotely from further away if I hold the fob to my jaw.

Yeah that actually works.

I suspect this image was staged. I have dishy, and cats, and snow, and the dish doesn't get hot enough to interest the cats.

So with a sample of 1 you declare another sample of 1 as false with enough confidence for an online press release. I don't know, this kind of statement does not sound right to me. I would expect for plenty of samples of 1 to be different unless I can be sure the distribution of possible results is really narrow and limited. Both cats and the context (how long were they out, when was the last meal - digesting creates heat, how cold is it, etc.) have quite a large number of possibilities.

"Staging" a picture with that many cats at once seems rather less likely than the alternative of "They found a warm spot that also annoys the nearby humans."

If the cats had access to the indoors there would be no reason for them to want to be on the dish. I assume these are feral cats, probably from the same litter, as 5 random cats would not want to get that close to each other.


> Starlink satellites are responsible for 1,600 near-crashes in orbit every week, reports Futurism’s Dan Robitzski, a number that he reports is likely to increase as Starlink plans to launch more satellites.

You know this is not true in any meaningful sense of the word "near-crash", because Starlink satellites have been in orbit for years and have not collided with anything.

When you drive down the highway, do you consider every passing car a "near-miss"? That is the only way that your statement seems at all plausibly correct.

I agree with you, but noting that the comment is a direct quote from the article, which includes a bit of controversy at the end to keep the article sufficiently polarizing ;)

I thought, space being huge, a near crash would be defined as within maybe 100 miles. It turns out it's within 1 km. Recently, and famously, with an ESA vehicle. Of concern then was that Starlink was either unable or unwilling to move their satellite to avoid a collision.

Iassume that there will be in the next decade a Kessler syndrome event that knocks out a huge swath of LEO, including the Starlink orbit zone. The debris may deorbit on it's own, but it may take five years.

To be fair, that was fairly early in the Starlink program (2 prototypes were launched in 2018, and 60 more by that incident in 2019). Starlink has actively been dodging their own and other satellites successfully since then.

That hasn’t stopped their competitors from trying to smear them: https://m.slashdot.org/story/384516

I did some googling and there seems to be some truth to this, although following the numerical estimate back toward the source finds "near-crashes" expressed less dramatically as "close encounters", defined as within 1km, most of which occur with other Starlink satellites.

I'm curious to see if this could get any worse when all 12,000 of their satellites are up there. Plus not to mention there could be competitors putting up another 12k of their own satellites.

Do you mean 42k? 11k was only the first phase.

They're responsible for not crashing and they're succeeding? Sounds good.

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