Elon Musk has made clear his eventual intention for SpaceX’s Starlink fleet of satellites that provide broadband connectivity from space.
Musk said he will list the Starlink space internet venture, when its cash flow is reasonably predictable, and hopes to give long term Tesla shareholders an initial public offering (IPO) before that happens.
Earlier this week SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwel said that Starlink will deliver continuous global coverage by around September.
Shotwell also revealed that SpaceX now had a total of 1,800 Starlink satellites, which is enough to provide global coverage.
At the moment, Starlink operates a beta service in 11 countries, priced at $99 a month.
In May SpaceX revealed it had already received more than 500,000 orders for the satellite internet service.
In addition to the monthly charge, the user also has to pay $499 upfront for the equipment needed to connect to the service. The best Internet speed that can be achieved seems to be approximately 209.2 Mbps, which was the fastest speed recorded by a beta-test subscriber.
SpaceX intends to place up to 12,000 satellites in orbit, with approximately 2,000 satellites launched per year.
It will eventually place up to 42,000 satellites into orbit by mid-2027.
Elon Musk has previously made clear that he sees the Starlink service as a way of funding SpaceX’s development of a spacecraft (i.e. Starship) that can carry passengers to the moon, and eventually colonise Mars.
Indeed Musk has previously said SpaceX could make up to $30 billion a year from the Starlink venture.
But now Elon Musk had provided a bit more clarity about the future of the Starlink venture, which is currently operated by SpaceX.
Musk responded when a Twitter user asked him: “Any thoughts on Starlink IPO we would love to invest in the future. Any thoughts on first dibs for Tesla retail investors?”
Musk replied: “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.”
It should be noted that this is not the first time that spin off of Starlink has been mooted.
Last year SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said Starlink could be spun off from SpaceX for an initial public offering.
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