Traditional internet providers may not be quaking in their boots just yet but will be increasingly watching with interest as Elon Musk’s SpaceX has now received more than half a million orders so far for its Starlink satellite internet service as it potentially heads for a major initial public offer in coming years.
The company launched its 26th deployment of 60 Starlink satellites overnight, adding to its ‘constellation’ of over 1,000 low-orbit satellites providing high-speed internet access to remote communities.
On the webcast of the launch, SpaceX operations engineer Siva Bharadvaj said: “To date, over half a million people have placed an order or put down a deposit for Starlink.”
Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed, completing SpaceX’s 10th Starlink mission this year pic.twitter.com/gm7U3qDL44
— Starlink (@StarlinkPage) May 4, 2021
The launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was the ninth launch and landing using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Starlink’s initial ‘beta’ internet services are currently being delivered in the US and in select countries, with the service limited number of users per coverage area.
The launch of more satellites towards the total planned ‘megaconstellation’ of 12,000 satellites, as well as corresponding installation of ground stations, is aimed to provide total coverage of the earth and lead to increased speeds and lower latency.
Parent company SpaceX’s valuation last month climbed to US$74bn as it reportedly raised US$1.16bn of new funds, with rumours abounding around a potential future IPO of the Starlink arm.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, has previously said that Starlink is the “right kind of business that we can go ahead and take public”.