Elon Musk has disclosed that the company's satellite internet branch, Starlink, has attained cash-flow breakeven. This significant financial landmark comes as good news for SpaceX, revealing a shift in the internet based venture's profitability.
Starlink's Impressive Growth
Starlink has made incredible strides, amassing approximately 5,000 satellites that now whirl in low-Earth orbit. Its rapid expansion unsettles the competitive satellite landscape, bearing down on established players such as Viasat and the recently enlarged Eutelsat, thanks to its acquisition of OneWeb.
Starlink is also now a majority of all active satellites and will have launched a a majority of all satellites cumulatively from Earth by next year.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 2, 2023
Starlink's Global Impact
Starlink has been making global headlines, particularly for its notable contributions to war-impacted Ukraine, where it has been instrumental in ensuring vital satellite communications. Musk also revealed last month that Starlink would bolster communication links in the Gaza strip in collaboration with “internationally recognized aid organizations.” This came in response to the disturbing blackout that cut off the region's phone and internet connections, leaving its residents globally isolated.
Financial Implications and Future Prospects
The breakeven cash-flow achievement does not only delineate Starlink's profitability but stands as a pathway to bolster SpaceX's high-capital projects. SpaceX intends to use Starlink's revenue to bankroll ventures like its mammoth Starship, a reusable rocket that is designed to land astronauts on the moon, as part of NASA's lunar mission to the lunar south pole in the upcoming decade.
Starlink reported a soaring leap in last year's revenue, making $1.4 billion – more than six times its previous amount. Nonetheless, these figures missed Musk's ambitious targets according to a report by the Wall Street Journal in September, which quoted undisclosed documents. This doesn't seem to have dented SpaceX's value though, which stands at an estimated $150 billion, making it one of the highest valued private firms globally.
Earlier in 2021, Musk gave an indication that he would consider making Starlink its own entity and going public when its cash flows were stable. Now that it has achieved breakeven, industry observers are keenly watching for the next move. However, with the visionary Musk at the helm, the future of Starlink promises exciting possibilities regardless.