Analyst: SpaceX tops $6bn in equity funding

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Researchers at Quilty Analytics have carried out a running total of SpaceX’s fund-raising exercises and estimate that the Elon Musk-backed business has raised around $6 billion (€4.9bn) since the announcement of its – then proposed – Starlink broadband-by-satellite service in 2015.

Quilty says its calculations show some $6.54 billion, not including debt financing and the market’s enthusiasm to plough investment cash into SpaceX is considerable. Moreover, Quilty says SpaceX’s record to date is “unmatched”.

“While details of the uses of this capital have not been made public, it is clear that the bulk of recent funding has been allocated to development of the Starlink LEO Broadband programme,” says Quilty, adding that among the cadre of LEO Broadband constellations in development, SpaceX stands out for its ability to fundraise, drawing the necessary financing to advance its own LEO Broadband program, Starlink.

Quilty stresses that Starlink, global as it is in its intent, is but a springboard to Musk’s extra-terrestrial mission to Mars.

The researchers praise Musk and his team for their “enormous progress” and ability to successfully launch 1000 satellites annually, and its commitment to commence widespread commercial operations this year. Starlink’s Phase I goal is to have 1584 satellites in orbit, and the current number is more than 1000 working satellites. Quilty expects Starlink’s Version 2 craft to have its design wrapped and launching by early 2022.

Currently, Quilty says SpaceX/Starlink has about 50 gateways in the US and will need about 100 in the US alone. Some are temporarily located but all have high-speed fibre links.

However, the analysts also admit that the next battle for Starlink is in going direct-to-consumers and is likely to be the hardest ‘vertical’ to achieve and service.


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