SpaceX Vice President of Starlink, Jonathan Hofeller, said today that the company is no longer taking a hit financially for producing Starlink terminals as it recently moved on from subsidizing the antennas customers use to access internet service.
SpaceX is no longer absorbing the cost of the antennas, which is a result of scaling production and expanding its service, which was activated in 2019 when the first 60 satellites were launched.
Hofeller called the mass production of the terminals “one of our keys to success.”
“We were subsidizing terminals, but we’ve been iterating on our terminal production so much that we’re no longer subsidizing terminals, which is a good place to be,” Hofeller said at the World Satellite Business Week conference, according to a report from CNBC.
Starlink satellite manufacturing was initially at a cost of about $3,000 for each antenna unit. By early 2021, SpaceX had decreased that number to about $1,300 per unit. This is still more than double what a terminal costs for a consumer, which is $599.
It appears that now, SpaceX has either matched or beaten that $599 price with its cost of manufacturing a single unit based on Hofeller’s comments. Scalability has been the name of the game with several of Elon Musk’s companies. While most people think of Tesla as a company that had to scale to reach breakeven and then profitability, SpaceX is on the same ship.
As a whole, SpaceX has turned a profit in the past, and it took place in Q1 2023.
Starlink has been one of the biggest expenditures for SpaceX, and in 2021, Musk said that the program had a long way to go before it would become “financially viable.”
Starlink launches are now happening several times per month, and Hofeller commented that the influx of satellite orbits per month “is insane.”
Over 5,000 Starlink satellites have been launched so far, and over 4,500 are still in orbit, giving people all across the world access to high-speed internet.
Starlink has also been used to help those involved in natural disasters, like the recent wildfires in Hawaii.
SpaceX shipped more than 650 Starlink kits to more than 40 organizations to help support recovery efforts for those who lost their homes due to the fires.
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