There is great interest in Elon Musk’s satellite-based Internet platform Starlink. According to the company, there are already more than 500,000 pre-orders.
On May 4, 2021, SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink satellites into space. The private space company has thus exposed 420 internet satellites since the beginning of March. In total, there are now more than 1,500 Starlink satellites in low-earth orbit. In the long term, it will have to be significantly more to achieve the intended Internet coverage, but the Starlink beta phase has already started in some countries, including Germany. The first pre-order figures show that there is keen interest in the service.
According to the company, more than 500,000 people worldwide have already made a paid pre-order. SpaceX requires 99 euros for this, which must be paid in advance. The money will later be deducted from the cost of the necessary receiving hardware, for which the company wants 558 euros including shipping costs. In operation, the whole thing then costs another 99 euros per month. Pre-orderers can withdraw from the contract at any time.
SpaceX boss Elon Musk assumes, according to a tweet, that the half million pre-orderers can “most likely” be supplied with the Internet through Starlink. However, areas with high user density could become bottlenecks. However, this is only “a greater challenge when we come into the range of several million users.” However, the service will need that in order to be profitable.
In 2018, SpaceX estimated the cost of Starlink to be at least $ 10 billion over the next decade. Financial experts at the investment bank Morgan Stanley even assume that SpaceX will have to spend around 50 billion dollars on it by 2032. For the time being, however, raising capital doesn’t seem to be a problem for SpaceX. On average, the private space company raises around one billion dollars in fresh funds every year.
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But it is also clear to Musk that Starlink is still a risk due to the high costs. “Every new satellite constellation in history has gone bankrupt. We hope that we are the first to not do that, ”said the SpaceX boss in a tweet at the beginning of February.
However, if the project is a success, the risk could well pay off. SpaceX itself expects Starlink to generate annual revenues of $ 30 billion by 2025. However, there are doubts about the forecast among economic experts. For example, an analysis published by Forbes in February only assumes annual sales of around ten billion dollars.