Tuesday, August 4, 2020

SpaceX Starlink IPO: The pros and cons of investing in a Starlink public company

The president of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell, made comments at a private investor event at Miami regarding a new direction for Starlink, Bloomberg reported. Shotwell said that SpaceX might take its Starlink initiative and brand it as a separate company (controlled by SpaceX of course) and take that business public.

Shotwell said, according to Bloomberg, “That particular piece is an element of the business that we are likely to spin out and go public. Right now, we are a private company, but Starlink is the right kind of business that we can go ahead and take public.”

What is Starlink?

Starlink is an initiative by SpaceX with plans to put over 42,000 satellites in space over the next decade that can beam internet connectivity to every corner of the globe. The company has already launched 240 satellites aboard its Falcon 9 reusable rockets. The reason why SpaceX is able to regularly launch Starlink satellites is that the company has comparatively fewer launch costs, as the rockets are reusable.

Pros of Starlink

With thousands of Starlink satellites, SpaceX will be able to provide high-speed satellite internet to pretty much any corner of the globe. This includes the oceans, deserts, rainforests, etc. Other telecommunications satellites are limited in their capability as companies can only target areas with large urban populations first. Starlink, with its mega satellite constellation, will be able to reach every corner of the Earth.

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With so many satellites connecting the world together, Starlink will become the preferred ISP (Internet Service Provider) for many. Other ISPs might even want to license particular Starlink satellites for their use.

Cons of Starlink

With over 42,000 satellites in space, managing space traffic and junk will become a nightmare. Collisions will become harder to predict and avoid, causing billions in damages to neighboring satellites.

The 70th International Astronautical Conference held at Washington even included discussions regarding new laws for space. Since satellite technology and launch capabilities are becoming very widespread, experts were demanding that new laws be written to regulate the sudden increase in space traffic.

There is also a lot of backlash from the astronomical community regarding the visibility of space. The Starlink satellites cause so many reflections, it becomes harder for telescopes to see past Earth when there are so many disruptions from the thousands of Starlink satellites. However, changing the reflection angles may help reduce the reflections and SpaceX is looking into that.

Overall, Starlink seems very promising due to the promises of Earth finally being completely connected digitally. There are still so many issues that have to be cleared before deciding to invest in a Starlink IPO if there ever is one.

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