Ars Live: How profitable is Starlink? We delve into the details of satellite Internet.

Enlarge / A stack of 60 Starlink satellites was launched in 2019.

SpaceX began launching operational Starlink satellites five years ago this month. Since then, the company has been rapidly developing its constellation of broadband satellites in low Earth orbit. SpaceX has launched around 6,000 satellites with its Falcon 9 rocket and has delivered on its promise to provide fast internet around the world. Today, the company is the world’s largest satellite operator by a factor of 10.

But is this huge company profitable to bring Internet from space?

According to a new report from Quilty Space, the answer is Yeah. Quilty built a model to evaluate Starlink’s profitability. First, the researchers assessed income. The company estimates that this figure will increase to $6.6 billion in 2024, up from virtually zero just four years ago. In addition to rapidly growing its subscriber base of approximately 3 million, SpaceX has also managed to control costs. Therefore, based on his model, Quilty estimates that Starlink’s free cash flow from the business will be about $600 million this year.

So what does it mean for this industry that Starlink went from zero to profitable in five years? What’s next for the network? Are there credible competitors to Starlink in OneWeb, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, or other planned mega-constellations? Can low Earth orbit accommodate all these satellites?

Join me for a conversation about Starlink and these questions with Caleb Henry, Research Director at Quilty. Henry is a true expert in the area of ​​satellite internet and we will go into the details of this topic. We will also answer your questions.

This will be the first Ars Live event we’ve held in a few years. During these discussions, Ars Technica reporters and editors speak with industry leaders about the biggest science and technology news of the day. Join us at 2 pm ET (18:00 UTC) on June 11 on our YouTube live stream.

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