For years, Elon Musk has been hinting at and teasing his massive Starlink project through social media and various other news outlets. From testing his satellites’ internet service and tweeting about it to launching more satellites into space, Musk has placed a large amount of money and resources into his Starlink project. The total investment that he has placed forward for this business is estimated to be anywhere from $20-30 billion dollars. While this investment may seem steep and confident on his part, he admits that he is still unsure of whether the project will be valuable and yield enough to cover his initial investment. That being said, Musk plans to continue with Starlink in the hopes that it will be life-changing.
What is SpaceX?
The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, is an aerospace company that was started in 2002 by Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. The goal of this company is to make commercial spaceflight affordable and the new norm.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a satellite internet service offered by Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX. Musk has launched around 1,500 satellites from various locations around the world to provide a new and competitive internet service. The service costs around $99 per month to use and was specifically created to improve internet services in areas that wouldn’t normally have access to the internet.
It has recently been reported that there are around 70,000 active users of this service as of June 2021. Musk believes that there will be over 500,000 active users within the next year of its operation. However, due to the surmounting costs of the operation, this projected milestone has been met with skepticism.
Currently, Starlink is only available in a select few countries like the U.S, Canada, and the UK. It is predicted that Starlink will be fully operational by 2022.
Why Was Starlink Created?
Primarily Starlink was created in order to create a more reliable and fast internet service. However, Musk has other plans for Starlink. In 2018 Musk confidently stated that he believed the revenue that Starlink would yield could help his company, SpaceX, put its first base on Mars. Elon Musk has been very vocal about his dream to colonize Mars and make space travel easy and manageable. This could be the next step in his dream. By creating and perfecting a satellite internet option, when humans do colonize Mars, they will be able to use their phones and connect to life back on earth.
What’s Next For Starlink?
Currently, there are around 1,500 Starlink satellites orbiting the globe. By the year 2027, Musk would ideally like to have launched around 42,000 satellites. Every launch contains up to 60 satellites meaning that at the very least, Musk will need a minimum of 700 successful satellite launches within the next 6 years.
Musk has also said that he would ideally like for people to be able to look up at the night sky someday and see the Starlink satellites flying across it.