When Can We Expect Starlink to Go Public? This question got an answer from Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who said he will only publicly list SpaceX’s satellite internet service Starlink when its revenue is more predictable.
Musk was responding to a users tweet, “Any thoughts on Starlink IPO we would love to invest in the future. Any thoughts on first dibs for Tesla retail investors?”
The billionaire entrepreneur tweeted back, “At least a few years before Starlink revenue is reasonably predictable. Going public sooner than that would be very painful. Will do my best to give long-term Tesla shareholders preference.”
In an earlier tweet in September last year, Musk wrote, “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.”
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation being developed by SpaceX to provide high-speed, low cost satellite Internet access to remote locations. The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), which communicate with designated ground transceivers.
Users on the ground can access the broadband signals using a kit supplied by SpaceX. The kit contains a small satellite dish with mounting tripod, a wifi router, cables and a power supply, according to the company’s website. However, Starlink requires a clear view of the sky to connect.
Starlink satellites are over 60 times closer to Earth than traditional satellites, resulting in lower latency and the ability to support services typically not possible with traditional satellite internet.
Latency is the time it takes to send data from one point to the next. When satellites are far from Earth, latency is high, resulting in poor performance for activities like video calls and online gaming.
SpaceX launched its first two Starlink test craft, named TinTinA and TinTinB, in February 2018. SpaceX launched the first 60 Starlink internet communications satellites into orbit on May 23, 2019, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It eventually hopes to have as many as 42,000 satellites in this so-called megaconstellation.
As of late May 2021, SpaceX had launched more than 1,730 Starlink satellites overall. They plan to launch up to 60 more per Falcon 9 flight, with launches as often as every two weeks in 2021.
In comparison, only about 4,300 active artificial satellites currently orbit Earth, and only 11,670 have ever been launched in all of history, according to the European Space Agency.
Amazon’s Project Kuiper, a planned network of over 3,200 low Earth orbit broadband satellites that will provide similar high-speed internet from space, will give stiff competition to the Starlink network by Musk’s SpaceX. The project also received approval from the FCC last year.
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