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Starlink revenue in 2024 estimated at $6.6 billion

According to an independent analysis of the state of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, the company will generate $6.6 billion in revenue in 2024.

The independent analysis was done by the market research firm Quilty, and was based largely on extrapolating out from Starlink’s 2.7 million known subscribers.

“We’re projecting a revenue jump from $1.4 billion in 2022 to $6.6 billion in 2024.”

To put that in perspective, the combined revenue of the two largest geostationary satellite operators, SES and Intelsat, which recently announced a merger, is around $4.1 billion. “The answer lies in their subscriber base,” explained Quilty. Viasat and Hughes, two dominant players in the consumer GEO satellite internet market for over 20 years, peaked at a combined 2.2 million subscribers in 2020. Starlink surpassed that number in just a few years, he said.

The financial outlook is equally impressive. Quilty Space estimates Starlink’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes,depreciation, and amortization) to reach $3.8 billion in 2024, a significant leap from negative $128 million in 2022.”We expect Starlink to achieve positive free cash flow for the first time in 2024,” said Quilty.

This revenue number is even more astonishing when you compare it with the $12 billion in private capital the company has raised from investors since 2017. Next year alone SpaceX’s returns will cover half that investment, practically guaranteeing a generous profit in the coming years for those investors.

Even more significant, these revenues mean SpaceX now has a very healthy cash stream for completing construction of Starship/Superheavy, or in fact practically anything the company decides to build.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

5 comments

  • Ian C.

    Tom Mueller (now Impulse Space) comments,

    “Some of us working on StarLink 6-8 years ago had spreadsheets with basic cost assumptions of launch, sats and ground terminals, as well as revenue projections. The general consensus was, wow, the ROI is really quick, lets build and launch as many of these as fast as we can”

    https://twitter.com/lrocket/status/1789021514198905289

  • wayne

    The author of the article focuses on Starlink satellite production as one key profit contributor, but she totally ignores the fact of reusability of the rockets, and how SpaceX has gone to scale on that.

    Cutting a few hundred thousand off the cost of a satellite is small change compared to the marginal cost reduction achieved by launching each additional satellite, on rockets that can be re-used 20 times.
    And the fact that these other companies can generate substantial revenue from satellites for which they paid dearly to launch, just goes to show how much of a cash-cow Starlink is.

    I’ve actually been considering Starlink for the past few months, as our only internet provider was Xfinity.
    But Frontier just finished wiring up my area with fiber-optic and I now have 1GB fiber-optic service for $49.95/month, unlimited use. And the Xfinity people are worried….I’ve never seen them offer such low teaser rates.

  • Ronaldus Magnus

    This provides a whole new connotation to Sagan’s billions and billions. Eventually our Solar System will be populated with a great deal of SpaceX cosmic ‘stuff.’

  • I’m very happy to be a Starlink customer. I also have a backup “land line” connection from the cable company (Starlink doesn’t like snow storms), but I still consider it money well spent. That’s my contribution to Starship.

    Might I suggest a promotional program: Each year, one Starlink customer is randomly drawn for a flight on Starship. And, no, I don’t care how g-force-y the landing is.

    BTW: I tend to forget which network I’m connected to. Whenever I have a connectivity issue, I look at the weather. Some sunny days I wonder what’s wrong with Starlink, only to find I’m connected to the land-line; not having switched back after the previous switch over. I’d rate both connections as equally reliable, but neither anywhere close to five 9s.

  • Edward

    From the article:

    Quilty Space estimates the cost of Starlink satellites has evolved significantly. While the first generation V1 satellites were produced for around $200,000 each, the latest V2 mini version carries a heftier price tag of $800,000, but that reflects its increased size and capabilities (from 260 kilograms to 730 kilograms).

    Well, that is an interesting cost per V1 satellite. My previous understanding was that V1 cost $1 million each and launch cost was also around $1 million each.* The cost of launching each satellite far exceeded the cost of manufacture. So, they put up round 4,000 V1 satellites at a cost of around $1.2 million each, for a total cost of around $5 billion.

    V2 satellites are a bit different, around 22 V2s per Falcon 9 launch for a cost of around $3 million each, so it costs around $4 million for each one on orbit. By the end of the year, they may have around 2,500 V2 satellites up there, costing around $10 billion. By the end of 2024, Starlink will have spent around $15 billion from inception.

    If the company is up to $6.6 billion in annual revenues, that is a rapid return on the investment.

    However, this is going to be an expensive year for Starlink. They will have around 100 Falcon 9 launches, which alone costs $6 billion. 2,200 V2 satellites costs another $2 billion, or less, so the breakeven may have to wait until the satellite launch rate becomes constellation replacements rather than constellation building. Unless they sign up more customers; they should have more capacity for U.S. customers as well as for more customers in countries in which they already are licensed, and there could be even more countries that will license Starlink in the future. Or unless Starship can start taking up even larger numbers for lower costs per satellite.

    On the other hand, if Starlink makes $6.6 billion this year, and its revenues are increasing, the monthly revenue in December may be significantly more than the monthly average for the year. Next year could be quite a bit better, especially if they are still gaining customers.
    _____________
    * I consider each Falcon 9 launch to be charged full price for accounting purposes, so that the cost to Starlink investors is attributed to that project, otherwise investors in the launch side will subsidize Starlink investors.

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