Elon Musk eyes IPO as SpaceX begins preorders for Starlink satellite internet service
SpaceX accepts pre-orders for its Starlink satellite internet service as Elon Musk plans an IPO
Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s SpaceX has expanded the public beta of its Starlink satellite internet service, saying it is accepting pre-orders from potential customers..
Potential Starlink users can enter their service address on the company’s website and pre-order for $ 99. In some regions, pre-order messages are displayed stating that SpaceX «aims to cover your region from mid to late 2021», while in other regions it is reported on the timing of orders only in 2022.
The service will be offered first in the US, Canada and the UK.
The company’s website emphasizes that pre-orders «fully reimbursed», but in small print it is noted that «making a deposit does not guarantee service». SpaceX also reports that «execution of orders may take 6 months or more» depending on where the customers are.
SpaceX launched the Starlink public beta program in October with a maintenance price of $ 99 per month, in addition to the $ 499 preorder for the Starlink hardware kit plus shipping. Includes a Wi-Fi router and a user terminal, also known as a satellite dish, for connecting to orbiting satellites.
Starlink is SpaceX’s ambitious project to create an interconnected internet network with thousands of satellites, known in the space industry as a satellite constellation, designed to provide high-speed internet to consumers anywhere in the world. Two years ago, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the launch of 11,943 of the company’s satellites. SpaceX, which hopes to have 4,425 satellites in orbit by 2024, has already launched more than 1,000 Starlink satellites and plans to build and deploy even better versions of its spacecraft..
In about three months since the start of public beta testing, SpaceX said in an FCC filing last week that Starlink has «over 10,000 users in the United States and abroad».
The SpaceX CEO reiterated previous statements that the company plans to spin off the Starlink project and make it public when the service is ready for an IPO.
«SpaceX needs to overcome a deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so to make Starlink financially viable», – wrote Elon Musk in a recent tweet. «Every new satellite constellation in history has gone bankrupt. We hope to be the first to not.».
«Once we can forecast cash flow well enough, Starlink will conduct an IPO», – Musk wrote in another tweet.
Musk’s statements echo those of SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell (Gwynne Shotwell), voiced early last year. At the time, she said that «Starlink is the right kind of business that we can promote and make public».
If SpaceX can overcome the technological challenges of creating and distributing the service, the company is optimistic about its potential demand and revenue. Musk told reporters in 2019 that Starlink could generate $ 30 billion in revenue per year, about 10 times the highest potential the annual income he expects from his core rocket business.