While SpaceX’s satellite internet offering is struggling on the old continent, the citizens of the Stars and Stripes seem poised to move on to Elon Musk’s “Starlink” offering. The mega constellation of satellites that the Internet is supposed to bring around the world is still being rolled out, but it already has thousands of customers. On Monday, a Falcon 9 shot put 60 new satellites into orbit. On this occasion, Elon Musk announced that the 500,000 customer threshold had been reached with SpaceX’s offering.
With this 10th successful shot from SpaceX in 2021 – only for Starlink – SpaceX continues to push the limits of space. The company “New Space” trivializes launches into orbit, which have become routine without a challenge. While on Monday a large part of the observers of the space world was focused on the return of Crew-1 and the first crew on board a SpaceX capsule. Part of the company missed that date with history and was too busy putting 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. At the same time, on-site in Boca Chica, the company was battling the elements to fly its latest prototype, the SN15. The weather has finally outperformed SpaceX on this mission.
This show of force concluded an eventful week for the company. NASA has indeed decided to ditch the lunar lander from Elon Musk’s company for the moment. If the American space agency originally selected the Texas firm, particularly in competition with Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, NASA eventually pulled out after Amazon boss Elon Musk’s Finger pointed out a certain “favoritism” solution.
Starlink: SpaceX Profitability?
While Blue Origin has not yet competed with SpaceX in the space of satellite internet. Elon Musk’s business goes solo and continues to invade the sky with almost weekly launches. It must be said that Starlink is the only “profitable” offering from SpaceX today (there are no official numbers on the matter) as launches into orbit are a financial pit. According to several European and American experts in the space industry, the company’s financial security depends to a large extent on its ability to attract investors. The latter are not going to toss billions into SpaceX’s pierced barrel indefinitely, and the company must therefore offer them a more or less profitable option: this is all of Starlink’s work.
In an ambitious project – as with all SpaceX ideas, after all – Starlink has little to do with a growing clientele, while the development of the offer is still ongoing. Ultimately, Elon Musk’s offering should be able to compete with traditional ISPs (Internet Service Providers) for a service that provides the same connection quality anywhere in the world.
More and more (and more powerful) opponents
But before SpaceX gets there, it has yet to convince individuals to join the service. 500,000 people have already been won over by Elon Musk’s speeches, a number that is nowhere near enough for the divisive head of Tesla, who hopes to start his ministry by the end of the year.
Besides the need to convince a still hypothetical clientele. SpaceX has to deal with local guidelines, especially in Europe, where the company is not always warmly welcomed. Starlink is indeed a project that shares a lot and raises a lot of questions.
What about state sovereignty? When a private company can cut the Internet off in a country or even a continent with just a few clicks. In addition, relay antennas installed on land are not always to the taste of the neighborhood. Several websites that SpaceX is targeting in France are therefore exposed to the local rumble. Another problem Elon Musk has to solve before he wants to bring the Internet to the whole world.
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