Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Maintaining orbital access with terrestrial handiwork: Starlink repair networks in times of conflict  
Peter Timko (Jagiellonian University)

Short abstract:

In this presentation, I draw on interviews with Ukrainian Starlink users to reflect on the social and technical labor required to repair and maintain the terrestrial component of this space-based infrastructure.

Long abstract:

Starlink is a satellite constellation owned and operated by the private aerospace company SpaceX. Consisting of more than 5000 units in low-Earth orbit, the network is built to provide broadband internet service to terrestrial users. To date, the company has received much critical attention for the logistical issues presented by its substantial in-orbit presence and the ways its satellites can disrupt Earth-based observation and appreciation of the night sky. However, in-orbit technologies represent only one side of Starlink’s necessary infrastructure—to access Starlink services, terrestrial users require a proprietary antenna as well as a registered subscription.

The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted communication systems throughout the country, accelerating the adoption of Starlink services to fill the gap. As a result, Starlink terminals are in high demand. To meet this need, a grassroots network has arisen to facilitate the acquisition, distribution, repair, and operation of Starlink terminals. In this presentation, I draw on interviews with participants in these networks to reflect on the social and technical labor required to repair and maintain this crucial infrastructure. In doing so, I foreground the overlooked terrestrial components of space technologies and highlight how active engagement with space infrastructure can rearrange terrestrial relations.

Traditional Open Panel P371
Repair in outer space, repairing outer space
  Session 1 Friday 19 July, 2024, -