Seemingly unfazed by the problems facing SpaceX founder Elon Musk over his Tesla car financing statement, and the fallout from a Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into various Tweets he made about the alleged refinancing, Musk’s team is sticking with Starlink.
A recent report suggested that the SpaceX scheme to circle the globe with up to 4425 smallish broadband satellites might be “on hold”.
‘Not so’, implies SpaceX. Musk, speaking ahead of the SEC/Tesla bombshell, stressed that Starlink’s two initial ‘test’ satellites (TinTin 1 and TinTin 2) were in orbit and successfully communicating with his ground team. The duo were launched in February.
Moreover, he added that Starlink’s eventual success and profitability were “a key source” and essential financing for his overall scheme to launch his ‘Big Falcon Rocket’ on its Mars mission.
Starlink is licensed by the USA’s Federal Communications Commission, but there are conditions. The licence initially runs for just 6 years and in that time-frame SpaceX must launch half of its planned 4425 satellites into orbit, and the balance within a further 3 years. And some 6 months have already elapsed.
The satellites themselves weigh just 385 kgs, but building and launching that number is no easy task. And anticipating sufficient profits, let alone how the build and launch might be financed, are questions not yet answered.