SpaceX plans to offer Starlink broadband internet to additionally fund its ambitious space program that includes manufacturing a fleet of Starships to establish the first sustainable colony on Mars before the year 2050. Developing a spacecraft capable of launching tons of cargo and hundreds of humans to the Red Planet comes with an expensive price tag. During the Satellite2020 conference in March, the founder of SpaceX Elon Musk said that if Starlink is successful in obtaining a percentage of users in the global telecommunications market, SpaceX could net $30 billion to $50 billion in revenue annually. “The whole purpose of SpaceX is really to help make life multi-planetary... But the revenue potential of launching satellites to the space station, that taps out about $3 billion dollars a year. But I think providing broadband is more like an order of magnitude more than that, probably $30 billion a year as a rough approximation,” he said. Starlink could provide additional funding for SpaceX's long-term mission.
The company is deploying internet-beaming Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit where each will beam internet connection to customers worldwide. To date, SpaceX has deployed approximately 960 out of the 4,400 satellites that will initially make-up the Starlink constellation. A beta internet service is currently being offered in portions of northern United States and Canada. SpaceX targets to provide internet across the world in 2021. Customers receive internet via a Starlink phased-array antenna dish and Wi-Fi router device that the company is selling for $499, with a monthly internet service fee of $99 USD.
In September Musk stated SpaceX may spin off its Starlink broadband business and pursue an IPO (Initial Public Offering). “We will probably IPO Starlink, but only several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth & predictable,” Musk wrote via Twitter, “Public market does *not* like erratic cash flow haha. I’m a huge fan of small retail investors. Will make sure they get top priority. You can hold me to it,” he stated.
We will probably IPO Starlink, but only several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth & predictable. Public market does *not* like erratic cash flow haha. I’m a huge fan of small retail investors. Will make sure they get top priority. You can hold me to it.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 28, 2020
This week Musk mentioned the idea of making Starlink a publicly traded company again. He was asked via Twitter if any of his other companies besides Tesla would be publicly traded soon, to which he responded – “It will most likely make sense for Starlink to go public once the revenue growth is reasonably predictable,” he wrote on December 24.
It will most likely make sense for Starlink to go public once the revenue growth is reasonably predictable— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 25, 2020
While SpaceX itself will remain private, Starlink may be accessible for public investors in the future. Earlier this year, the President of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell was asked by investors if SpaceX would ever pursue an IPO – “Right now, we are a private company, but Starlink is the right kind of business that we can go ahead and take public. That particular piece is an element of the business that we [SpaceX] are likely to spin out and go public,” she stated in February.
All Images Source: SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.