SpaceX Will IPO Starlink

SpaceX COO Gwynn Shotwell says that SpaceX will likely spinoff the Starlink satellite network with an IPO.

SpaceX is launching 60 Starlink satellites with every Falcon 9 launch. They are four successful launches from minimum global coverage.

420 satellites are needed for minor broadband coverage of Earth and 780 of the first ~1600 for moderate coverage.

It would make sense to IPO after they have moderate coverage or full Northern hemisphere coverage. A spinout IPO would normally give current SpaceX owners shares of the spinout company. SpaceX would get cash from the IPO and SpaceX would retain shares in Starlink that were not sold in the IPO.

SpaceX expects more than US$30 billion in revenue by 2025 (or 2026) from its satellite constellation, while revenues from its launch business were expected to reach US$5 billion in the same year.

It Starlink achieves $50 billion per year in revenue in 2025-2027 then they would have revenue that is double the annual budget of NASA. Direct TV provides satellite TV services and it has $40 billion per year in revenue.

Internet traffic via a geostationary satellite has a minimum theoretical round-trip latency of at least 477 ms (between user and ground gateway), but current geostationary satellites have average latencies of 600 ms or more. Starlink satellites would orbit at ​1⁄30 to ​1⁄105 of the height of geostationary orbits, and will have Earth-to-sat latencies of around 25 to 35 ms. This latency will be comparable to existing cable and fiber networks. The latency will be lower for Starlink than any earth system for distances greater than 2000 miles. This is because light travels faster in a vacuum than in fiber. The system will use a peer-to-peer protocol simpler than IPv6. It will have end-to-end encryption natively.

Starlink satellites use Hall-effect thrusters with krypton gas as the reaction mass for orbit raising and station-keeping. Krypton Hall thrusters tend to exhibit significantly higher erosion of the flow channel compared to a similar electric propulsion system operated with xenon, but at a lower propellant cost.

SpaceX is going to four shifts for faster construction of the fully reusable Super Heavy Starship.

SpaceX has submitted requests to add 30,000 satellites for Starlink 3.0. They had 20 filings to the ITU (International Telecommunications for 1,500 satellites apiece in various low Earth orbits. SpaceX had originally filed for an initial Starlink network of 4425 satellites. Once the first 1000 satellites are up they will be able to start operation.

Low Latency Corporate Business for Financial Exchanges and Stock Trading Firms

It is worth New York and Chicago $100 million per year to put a premium microwave data connection between the two cities. This shaves 5% of the latency time from pricing updates and order placement. This has a lot of value when a big stock starts making a rapid move up or down.

Light travels about 50% faster in the vacuum of space than through a fiber. This would enable Starlink to provide lower latency than any ground-based fiber communication over distances greater than 2000 miles.

There would be 190 combinations of pairs of the top 20 financial cities. There are 435 combinations of pairs of the top 30 financial cities. If the top $100 million per year was paid by the top 20 cities, then this would be $19 billion per year. If the premium internet pairing for the connections to 21 to 30 was worth $10 million per year then this would be another $2.45 billion per year. Even with a half-price discount, the total would still be $10 billion per year.

The SpaceX Starlinks could save 30-50% of the latency time. The value for the Starlink financial latency reduction should be even higher. Let us say it is double the New York to Chicago price. This means the premium pairing of cities is worth over $40 billion per year.

Other industries may pay for premium pairing but there has to be a lot of money involved and value for shaving 30 milliseconds at some time in the year.

Internet Backhaul and 5G

SpaceX Starlink network will make money by helping improve the entire global internet. They will be able to provide a high bandwidth alternative to fiber.

90 percent of all internet traffic travels over wireline fiber, even if it ultimately goes on a wireless device.

It has been estimated that deploying 5G wireless speeds 10 to 100 times faster than 4G will cost $130 to $150 billion in fiber optic cabling alone over the next 5 to 7 years. There is a 28-page report from Deloitte on 5G and fiber. The Deloitte report was for the USA only. Europe and Asia will also build out 5G.

Consumer Service

Elon Musk described the looks of the Starlink Satellite receiver terminal. It will have motors.

The satellite receiver will need to be able track the low earth orbit satellites and shift to a different satellite. The satellites will be about 30 times farther than the altitude of a commercial passenger jet and they will be moving about 30 times faster. The apparent motion of the satellites relative to people on the ground will be like watching an airplane track across the sky.

There was a patent from SpaceX discussing the phased array shifters that will be needed.

81 thoughts on “SpaceX Will IPO Starlink”

  1. It seems odd but it’s not unknown for a unit of a company to turn out to be worth more than the company that contained it. Ferrari was spun off by Fiat-Chrysler and quickly became worth more by itself than FC which used to include it.

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  2. This sort of spin-off IPO has 3 groups of shares. It gives some shares to current shareholders. Musk owns 54% of SpaceX so he gets 54% of this group.

    It sells a pretty small fraction of the shares on a public exchange (Musk would symbolically buy some).

    The rest, the majority, are retained by SpaceX. Which Musk still controls.

    The shares sold on the exchange establish a much more liquid and hopefully higher price and deliver Capital to Starlink, much of which it will spend on SpaceX Services.

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  3. Do you honestly jot think that Starlink won’t massively increase in value once it proves commercial viability? It could be worth 1 trillion in 5 years if you consider a 5% world market share at 50 usd per month avg per customer (200ish mil subscriptions), plus the financial sector for low latency stuff. That alone is 100-120 billion in revenue per year. Or a 500 billion to 1 trillion company. Apple has 200B in revenue per year as a 1.4T company.

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  4. I think an IPO valuation of 50 billion plus is very reasonable, Comcast is 200B. That doesn’t have the same potential. If you don’t think Starlink has streaming potential you have never heard of synergy. Tesla already has deals with streaming entertainment services. Think of both that and the real time data collection that can be established. My guess, he merges Tesla and Starlink.

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  5. The problem for observatories is that they need to take long-duration pictures, and those are already getting streaked by fast-moving satellites.
    And the collision risk is exacerbated by the speed of the satellites. A bullet thrown at you by hand is just annoying. A bullet fired from a gun…well, that’s a very different matter.

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  6. Well, that is what Musk has suggested, but I don’t think he should get to decide that. Even with remote control common these days, there are big advantages to being able to build on high mountains still on Earth, instead of costly launches into space, or futuristic Moon bases (the House just voted to postpone lunar bases by 4 more years, to 2028; my guess is that China will have permanent bases there while the US is still figuring out if it even wants to land people there again).

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  7. Yes. It’s very easy for SpaceX to do their own launch missions.
    Only by flying their own missions can anyone realize the full savings of reusable hardware, no customer fully gets that savings.

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  8. They did not anticipate the psychological blow to US confidence and propaganda boost the Soviets would get. Even so, I think Ike would have done it again exactly the same. “CORONA started under the name “DISCOVERER” as part of the WS-117L satellite reconnaissance and protection program of the US Air Force in 1956.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona_(satellite)
    Ike really wanted his spy satellites.
    Ike was happy when the Soviets launched Sputnik. Because we were planning to launch first, if required. We were working very had to make things look less military and more scientific. If the Soviets would have failed, we would have waited until our second string rocket groups achieved it.
    And the CIA knew exactly where the Soviet space program was at. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/science/sputnik-launch-cia.html

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  9. “because he’s getting Space Land for free. ” Absolutely free. Free minus the cost of building an entire launch service, satellites, and FCC fees.

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  10. The devil is in the details. 5-10 billion is 8.3% to 28.6% of 35-60 billion, not 10-15%. Different. Also, the *entire* SpaceX – including the Starlink – is valued at about 33 billion. 5-10 billion would be 15% to 28.6% of that number.

    And since the entire SpaceX is worth 33 billion, there is no way that Starlink is going to be valued at 60 billion.

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  11. Several years ago, I read about new design for dielectric mirrors that would reflect at any angle. Roll these into tubes, suck out the air and you have light in a vacuum, shortest path.

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  12. Think of it this way, they need cash to build 14000 satellites and to launch them, about 20 billion for full deployment if you figure 200 F9 launches at 60-70 million per and 500-700k per satellite, which is what I think is about their goal. Its likely about 5-6 billion for deployment to be commercially viable. By launching a Starlink IPO he could potentially raise 5-10 billion by offering a 15% stake with only a 35-60 billion valuation for Starlink (If they succeed in creating a partial net prior to IPO, that number might be low). That is enough to get it going. Additionally, SpaceX would generate about 40-50% of that in cash flow for the launch contracts and Musk who has a 54% stake would be able to sell 2-3% for about a billion or two to help fund the Starship.

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  13. For anyone to compete, they’ll need access to extremely cheap launch services. Nobody is anywhere close to what SpaceX is about to achieve with Starship.

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  14. Ok i get it. You could easily replace backbone network with starlink… but i think they still need last mile distribution to have ground base stations… it would make more sense to connect starlink terminals to the 5G tower rather than giving it out to individual users…

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  15. While the HFT game is tempting, the bigger players are already playing with shortwave bounce systems as it is, with comparable performance. There’s also the infamous conjecture of using a neutrino system firing through the earth as the ultimate edge in speed due to minimum distances…

    The IPO possibly being a play for SpaceX investors to cash out now is also in play, for those getting nervous and wanting to get out. Musk is playing dangerously still and it could all flame out.

    Of note, Starlink does not provide direct 5G. Unlike Lynk.Global (formerly Ubiquitilink) which is trying for the direct 5G to phones thing (which appears viable provided you have a VLEO constellation, which Starlink has enough of in numbers). Starlink certainly could make a lot of money provided backup or even primary backhaul for 5G towers, wherever installing such backhaul is prohibitive, and you want to avoid excessive LoS multihop relaying between isolated towers which have no backhaul. Which is ideal for island nations and wide rural countries.

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  16. I’m not so sure you are right about Elon *just* wanting to supply the technology for colonization. Here is what the SpaceX home page claims:

    “Our aspirational goal is to send our first cargo mission to Mars in 2022. The objectives for the first mission will be to confirm water resources, identify hazards, and put in place initial power, mining, and life support infrastructure. A second mission, with both cargo and crew, is targeted for 2024, with primary objectives of building a propellant depot and preparing for future crew flights. The ships from these initial missions will also serve as the beginnings of the first Mars base, from which we can build a thriving city and eventually a self-sustaining civilization on Mars.”

    So it seems that SpaceX had planned to finance at least some missions to Mars on their own dime. Don’t you agree?

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  17. Why are observatories still on earth? These should be built in space and on the far side of the moon, no atmosphere to distort images. Maybe this will finally kick start this idea. James West telescope is a joke, Overpriced and obsolete before launch like much of legacy aerospace projects.

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  18. Jan and many other over exuberant people thought Starlink was supposed to be a source of revenue that would allow SpaceX to self fund building a Mars base.

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  19. OMG I just found my new favorite site this is infoporn. Im mean, we just get straight to the point. Facts, data, stats oh my! I’vs just favorited, yes that’s word now.

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  20. Yes the US main interest was spy satellites.
    That is why the first US satellites was tiny and purely scientific.
    They also had lots of rockets blowing up.
    NASA is also separated from the military but Eisenhower also feared the military industrial complex theory.
    In practice congress is more important, or why is construction spread out over +40 states.

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  21. Main reason to kill high frequency traders is that its an potential source for making an correction into an stock exchange crash, you are also just flipping stocks.

    if you invest to get dividends it give the company money to expand and earn more money who is positive.
    If you are just flipping stocks its an zero sum game. It can easy come regulation who makes flipping stocks less profitable.
    We have no idea who democrat who is elected in 2024 but as Trump is not exactly moderate I would not bet on the democrat to be moderate either.

    Starlink however looks pretty safe, they are not that much of an treat to current ISP, they mostly serve an marked they don’t want much. Starlink will not work well in major cities.

    Now then they get the capability to ripple fire starship you get starlink 2.
    Don’t think it will be able to connect to current mobile phones but all the other stuff.

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  22. its money in the stock exchange brokers doing ultra fast trading but its not volume as in how many hundreds is it. No this is not your standard stock brokers, this is companies using trends and even AI scanning news feed to get estimates and buy and sell many times each second.
    Now if I was spaceX I would get an base station very close to the stock exchanges preferable into their router, to use this base station you have to pay premium.
    Else treat them as games who is another group who pay more for low latency.
    No not so much but it at least 100.000 times more of them.

    And the elephant in the room is that current starlink satellites does not has satellite to satellite communication. Not sure if they lack the lasers or if they just miss the upper layer of connector satellites.

    Now another major customer is the military who has shown serious interest.
    They will love high bandwidth low latency connections, as an bonus they want them in areas who will be low on other customers. But they want satellite to satellite communication
    Planes and ships is another with the same demand and more so

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  23. Well, supposedly the stock market brokers are willing to pay tens of billions of USD per year, so even if newcomer can only reap half the price, it may still be attractive.

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  24. How about I get to explain myself what I think?

    If the “only” goal of SpaceX is to provide the technology for Mars colonization – not the financing – , then it’s not going to happen very quickly. And we certainly won’t have a city on Mars by 2030 (https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-spacex-mars-plan-timeline-2018-10?r=US&IR=T#perhaps-the-2030s-construction-of-the-first-city-on-mars-11)

    Why do I write this? Well, I don’t see the incentive for *another* company to pay for the trips necessary for the colonization. I just don’t see the economical upside. And I am not sure that governments will find it an imperative either. A base for USA? Possibly. A city..? Why?

    So, as long as Elon Musk could do as he pleases with SpaceX, including diverting profits to the “idealistic” goal of paying for the colonization of Mars, it looked somewhat possible. (Perhaps he never had that possibility..?). Now though, he will effectively separate the money making part of the business – Spacelink – from the idealistic branch (SpaceX) of the business. So the colonization seems less likely to happen.

    But time will tell…

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  25. It’s that sort of mindlessness belief, that “one of the most successful businessmen and innovators in history” isn’t capable of engaging in behavior that is detrimental to business, that encourages its continued manifestation. Hopefully, the business people he surrounds himself with isn’t anything like you.

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  26. Valid concern. However the financial industry has strong lobbies and limited international coordination. Greed is a pretty strong force.

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  27. Valid possibility. Question mark on the few dozen satellites and the 2 to 5 years. Plus Skylink can drop prices to discourage competition. How many investors would be willing to put up billions to compete with that much risk?

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  28. That wasn’t good for him, but it was great for everyone else.
    Investing is hard enough without lucky strikes being constantly endangered by a ceo’s antics.

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  29. Do you really think other countries will just allow the US/SpaceX to hog the Starlink concept? US made GPS, USSR made GLONASS, EU made Galileo, China made Beidou, Japan made QZSS, India made IRNSS.

    If Starlink becomes viable, it will have strategic/military applications, and that will automatically compel others to follow suit.

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  30. You’re both making slightly different points.
    He is only now realizing SpaceX is a business. It will not be using the bulk of Starlink’s $30B projected revenue to build a Mars base. SpaceX is helping make humans a multi planetary species via investing in its launch provider business.
    NASA or anyone with the cash can hire SpaceX to take them to the Moon or Mars so they can sight see or build their dream base.

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  31. Did you think Musk would be spending a large percent of Starlink’s projected revenue($30B) on building a Mars base?
    SpaceX currently is and always has been a business. It’s helping make humans an interplanetary species by investing in cheaper rocket transport systems for its launch provider business.
    If you want to go to Mars and setup up a base, SpaceX is available for hire and can transport you and your equipment there.
    A paying customer is always a prerequisite.

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  32. But will this new publicly-traded Starlink entity then suffer similar problems as Tesla has – ie. shorting, speculation, etc? I say this because those problems were caused by Musk’s non-traditional management style, and his hard-charging high cash-burn approach as he chased ever loftier ambitions while not always delivering on existing promises and timetables. That’s what likewise prompted Bridenstine’s tweet about SpaceX.

    What is Starlink’s roadmap? What are they going to do to keep investors onboard, especially when rival services emerge?

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  33. The probability of collision for each time a satellite passes another satellite is not affected by speed. The number of passes grows linearly with satellite speed, so you could estimate the situation by multiplying the number 30 000 by 1000 (cars: ~10 miles per hour, satellite ~10 000 miles per hour).

    So image hundreds of earths that together contain 30 million cars, or say 30 000 cars per earth. Not that much, would’nt you say? That’s like one car per county…

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  34. I have a slight caveat about the Starlink business model. There are basically two types of customers: stock exchanges brokers that would pay premium for low latency internet, and rural customers that would pay for any internet.

    I don’t see how Starlink can hold of competition for the highly lucrative stock exchange broker customers. You don’t need 12000 satellites to serve the different stock exchanges, right? So as soon as some other player gets a few dozens satellites into orbit the price will drop and so will the profitability. How long until that point? 2 years? 5 years?

    The second category is far more numerous than stock exchanges but they also pay less. What kind of profitability does this type of customer bring? Is it sufficient to uphold a high valuation of Starlink after competition in the “exclusive” internet connection has arrived?

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  35. The only things of value on Mars for the first few generations will be guts, effort and smarts.

    And… solar panels, gas processing facilities, food supplies, water gathering robots, green houses, tunnelling machines, electric vehicles, tools, etc. etc.
    All stuff that could be brought to Mars by someone with $10B and their own spaceship company.

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  36. Are you sure it would kill the observatory business? You may be correct, of course, but a link to argue your case would be appreciated.

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  37. We can make a half baked guess. SpaceX – which also entails the Starlink – is valued at 33 billion USD. Let’s say (generously) that Starlink is worth half of that at this time, i.e. about 16 billion USD and that they would need about 10 billion dollars to launch all satellites. In that case they would have to sell off about half of Starlink in the IPO.

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  38. Sold! I planned on using the service anyway because of it’s high speed access in remote locations. In for a penny in for a pound in this case.

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  39. Tesla was founded in 2003, long before any government decided to ban IC engines. Tesla would have been, and was, wildly successful regardless of government mandates.

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  40. it might be weird but $10 billion on Mars won’t be worth squat. The only things of value on Mars for the first few generations will be guts, effort and smarts.

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  41. one more add:
    Musk has been in this situation before. He’s started companies and then sold off control because he needed the cash.
    He then had it come back to bite him as he was removed from his position.

    He will be very careful this time around.

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  42. Not all that crowded, except that the cars are zipping around the earth at tens of thousands of kilometers an hour, circling the planet dozens of times a day…

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  43. I Would be willing to walk outside to use cell phone via. starlink constellation Because that’s how satellite phone works…if they bundled cellphone roaming and home internet access dish into the same monthly plan..ie, not charging you twice for the same service… When inside you Also have the opinion of WiFi cell phone call… if they did that it might take off… also give a family cellphone bundle with home internet access that has same restriction… all the same monthly fee… Starlink would have Verizon and att worried…

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  44. We need a space treaty which encourages private development. Not a socialist, market-killing power grab, as was intended by the Moon Treaty. Maybe we should do the right thing, and wait for relulatory governance from the UN. I’m sure that China and Russia will wait right alonside us (/sarc).
    If Musk makes a fortune, it is because he took the investment risk and deserves the reward for that.

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  45. If Elon can give me low latency 1 gigabit internet for $20/month… I’ll say yes… otherwise I’ll keep my overprice cable tv bundle and equally over priced cellphone plan

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  46. world Governments lining up and passing laws to replace gas, diesel, and hybrid with electric cars by 2035…. don’t see anything like that for satellite internet

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  47. Well, the whole of SpaceX – correct me if I am wrong – is valued at 33 billion USD and they need to raise billions of dollars to make the Spacelink network come true. So, it probably won’t be small portion of the company even if they retain a majority post.

    Mind you, there are already more owners to SpaceX than just Elon Musk and my guess is that they are not that keen on financing colonization of Mars. I don’t see the *financial* upside, even if it is really cool. So this may mean that Musk doesn’t have the ability to finance his dream even without a Starlink IPO..?

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  48. One point. Paying premium for the launches – and thus making SpaceX more able to colonize Mars – will be against the direct interests of Starlink. So, they will fight to keep that cost low and hence work to keep the flow of cash from Starlink to SpaceX to a minimum.

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  49. They aren’t selling Starlink, they’re selling a (probably quite small) piece of Starlink. This will let them raise funds to complete the full version of the constellation, and allow long-time employees to finally cash out the stock they’ve been sitting on.

    Musk probably plans on retaining majority ownership of the new company.

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  50. In practice, each country broadcasts in whatever frequencies they want and with whatever power they want…and stuff spills out to their neighbors continuously. In fact, along the southern US boarder US stations prefer to have their broadcast towers in Mexico because they can broadcast with more power. They have to run ads for the Mexican government and other wacky stuff but it usually is not very much of their time.

    Eisenhower was very concerned that countries would claim the space above them. He intentionally delayed putting up a satellite until the Russians did, because they would not be able to push restrictions after they did it first. The delay made the US look less competent and him look like an old dotard, but he had what he wanted…spy satellites over Russia. Eisenhower was obsessed with getting good Intel on the Soviets. He did not want to squander any more on military than was needed…but absolutely have what was needed. You can’t do that, if you don’t know what the other guy has.

    The US does have restrictions for US companies. you have to get permission to launch any satellite. And you can’t, for example, take pictures from up there of the US without permission. Of course, if the satellite came from some other country’s company, we have no say.

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  51. Imagine 30,000 cars on the Earth’s surface. It’s not all that crowded. Now spread them across several hundred Earths, since we have hundreds of possible altitudes if we assume a one-mile separation is enough.

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  52. Assuming SpaceX maintains majority control, they can make sure that Starlink pays a high dividend. That will help all the shareholders, and SpaceX can use their share of the dividends for Mars.

    The portion of dividends that they don’t get isn’t gone, it gets paid to them up front in the IPO. Rationally that would be at a discount, but given SpaceX hype that won’t necessarily be the case. Either way, it’s money they’ll invest in advancing Starlink and Starship, which will make those dividends ramp up faster.

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  53. Not so sure about this. You get a bunch of bean counters, and they will try to gouge for internet. Then you haven’t solved anything…except how to make life easier for the rich in their vacation homes in the boonies.

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  54. No, you don’t quite get it: Musk/SpaceX still owns a controlling segment of the stock after the IPO, and so retains operating control.

    And as the sole launch provider for Starlink, Starlink will continually inject cash into SpaceX via the profits on those launches. Cash which is then SpaceX’s and can be spent on Mars colonization.

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  55. No, I don’t see it.

    Presumably, its the internet business that makes the big profit, not the launch business. So the IPO company will be rich, and spaceX only moderately so.

    So spacex will sell the golden goose for a one time cash injection? Also, once the internet part is made public, it can no longer finance the mars colonization. Anything it finances must be in the economical interest of the shareholders and colonization just isn’t.

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  56. one add.
    SpaceX is like a child to Musk, he will mortgage everything for it. He would lose everything else before he handed it over control to shareholders who could remove him.

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  57. Someone gets it. Couldn’t tell by reading most of these posts. Musk is a business man and he is creating insurance against liability. He is transferring financial liability for Starlink to shareholders while using them for capital to transfer to SpaceX.

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  58. Actually, governments SHOULD regulate space, the same as they regulate the limited spectrum here on Earth. Space has limited space. 30,000 satellites at a relatively fixed altitude – if it should be allowed at all – means no room for someone else’s 30,000 satellites in the same position, and Musk should pay a licensing fee to rent that space; it would have to be to some international body, since the U.S. only owns what’s over itself, following long-established land rights laws extending skyward. Those laws make exceptions for plane and other manmade flying bodies, or else every house could charge whenever a plane flew overhead.
    This is going to kill the observatory business, but Astronomers apparently have no significant lobby/money. There’s going to be collisions, maybe even chain reactions like in the movie Gravity. And all so a few traders can do HFT that serves no useful social function, and arguably does not even work anymore.
    And let’s not even get started on the unprecedented amount of microwaves zipping overhead and through us.
    It’s a bad idea, but at least Musk should pay for cluttering up the sky. He stands to make a fortune because he’s getting Space Land for free. That’s the “commons” and it belongs to all humanity.

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  59. This is actually brilliant. By launching an IPO he can infuse Starlink with capital, which can in turn purchase launches from SpaceX and become its biggest customer, while still keeping SpaceX private. He can charge enough for the launches to turn a nice profit for SpaceX, while still providing himself with the cheapest launch. This will give Starlink a ton of capital to essentially transfer to SpaceX, which can then as a private company keep investing in better launch vehicles and eventual Mars colonization without shareholder concerns.

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  60. I’ve always wondered how real is the notion that Starlink could be such a cash cow due to supplying very low latency service between financial centers because it gives such advantages to high frequency traders that they will pay very highly for that service. It seems to me that it would only take some small tweaks to the trading regulations to kill off high frequency trading, which would kill the expected extreme profitability of Starlink. If governments decided to kill Starlink to ruin Musk, do those profiting from doing high frequency trading have enough power to stand in the way of such regulatory changes? I simply don’t know.

    Different topic: There have been very large estimates of revenue from Starlink, and speculation that it would be used to fund completion of Starship/Super Heavy, and whatever is needed for Mars colonization. What fraction of that estimated revenue from Starlink would be no longer coming to SpaceX if the IPO that was mentioned actually happened? Is it known what fraction of SpaceX is held by those investors other than Musk (and thus determines the fraction of Starlink that will be held by the other investors), and so would not be available for SpaceX to use for funding Starship, Mars colonization work, etc.?

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  61. Timing seems very good. Getting ready to switch on the system, and once it begins service, growth speculation will be very high. And this is all happening as Starship is being proven. Now- how will he put all of that capital to work? I think this is too early to imagine him building his Mars colony. Not too early to start planning exploration missions, though. The thing is- Musk seems to proceed thoughtfully, with a self-sustaining business model. I think his push into space will also follow a similar model. So while he spends funding to prove travel to and from Mars is viable, I expect their will other transitory steps, and possibly more spinoffs.
    Space tourism is next. There will be partners. Bigelow to ISS and Bezos the Moon. And there will be infrastructure to develop. Lifting water to fuel depots in LEO, and then ISRU on the Moon.
    But this will only happen if there is impetus. Rival nations will want to keep up, but they are far behind the curve, and trying to duplicate all of this does not seem very likely to me. Better for them to follow at their own pace, and cut deals with Space Inc. for services.
    Musk may become the tycoonest of all. But we still need space law and nuclear power (gov). Politicians looking to wring money and influence from this nascent power are also a threat. At least we can hope for Sen. Shelby to retire soon.

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  62. I was going to say use the internet to fund space exploration. That strikes me as wickedly funny, for some reason. Also, good idea!

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  63. And its an business very unlike SpaceX who has governmental and cooperate customers. They might get startups and universities in the cubesat niche.

    Starlink: standard will be customers who can not connect as they have an aluminium roof, however they claim they have not because its look like tiles and is overgrown.
    Worked for an isp back in the 90s, one guy had not connected the modem and the pc 🙂

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  64. The financial city pair faster transfer market will be like a gun to the head of financial firms with deep pockets. Pay whatever SpaceX asks for fastest priority service or let your competitors have a critical advantage. $10B-$20B/yr for just this tier which is highest priority but takes relatively little of the systems bandwidth seems realistic.

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