SpaceX Starlink Satellites Could Cost $250,000 Each and Falcon 9 Costs Less than $30 Million

Elon Musk and SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell have said that the per-satellite Starlink cost is already well below $500,000. This means that the internal cost of a Falcon 9 launch is less than $30 million.

SpaceX could already have $250,000 per Starlink satellite cost and $15 million per launch cost.

A Morgan Stanley analysis overestimated the cost of launching Starlink. Morgan Stanley’s assumed $1 million cost per Starlink satellite with a $50 million cost per launch. Morgan Stanley through SpaceX would have a value of $120+ billion assuming a future deployment of Starlink.

Morgan Stanley thought launching 30,000 broadband satellites could require ~$60b of incremental capital. It will require well below $30 billion. The cost per Starlink is already well below $500,000 and internal per launch cost is less than $30 million for F9. SpaceX could already have the capability for $15-30 billion to launch 30,000 Starlinks.

The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship costs and speed of launch would all massively improve. The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship could make the fully reusable cost per launch $5 million or less and it would be able to launch over 180 satellites each time. Instead of $60 billion to deploy 30,000 satellites, it could be only $3-5 billion.

If the costs are not already at the $30 million for satellites and launch they will be at that level early in 2020. In 2020, SpaceX cost will be about $300 million for the 10 launches for 600 operational satellite network in the first half of the year. They plan 24 launches which would put up 1400+ satellites.

Starlink revenue should start rolling in mid-2020 and ramp quickly.

SOURCES- Morgan Stanley
Written By Brian Wang,

19 thoughts on “SpaceX Starlink Satellites Could Cost $250,000 Each and Falcon 9 Costs Less than $30 Million”

  1. What if they’are all continuously running North – what are their chances as they near the poles?

    Or what if they’re all running along solar synchronous paths?


  2. Elon has specifically addressed this. He says that SpaceX won’t go public until after they are sending people to Mars.

  3. And this is why SpaceX is leveraging its reusable rockets to create the StarLink constellation so that they can start collecting monthly payments from the end users. Yeah, SpaceX stock would be great to have.

  4. Seeing? Yes. Running into? Well, the odds aren’t zero.

    Even if you have 10 million objects between the altitudes of 250 and 500 km, you’re still looking at an average reciprocal density of 15,865 cubic km per object. Of course, some orbits are more popular than others, but still…

    This is kinda interesting:

    Red is distance between pairs of active satellites, yellow is between an active sat and a piece of debris, and red is between two pieces of debris. Note that the scale is in kilometers.

  5. Hm.. Good point. I would never oust Elon Musk, so I should refrase my comment to “it’s a pity that I can’t buy shares in SpaceX…”

  6. “Shotwell: Think about 30,00 people on Earth spread out fairly evenly … you could spend your whole life and never see another person.”

    I’m pretty sure if those 30,000 people were running around at thousands of mile per hour, it would raise the odds of them seeing another person.

  7. Launch isn’t a great business. It’s very low volume, which limits the revenue upside, and the order pipeline is highly variable, which causes staffing problems. That’s why Boeing and Lockmart were happy to get launch off their balance sheets by spinning out ULA.

    I guess you could see the day when the demand for launch services was large enough to make it a decent business but, if the airlines are any indicator, it will still be fraught with a large amount of uncertainty.

    Satellite communications, on the other hand, is a great business.

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