Former senior executive at SpaceX
- History of Starlink project, highlighting challenges and opportunities in scaling operations
- TAM sizing and customer reach possibilities
- Challenges and public concerns around space safety
- Broader regulatory challenges facing SpaceX
- Mid-to-long-term outlook
What are the key secular trends driving the LEO [low Earth orbit] constellation and satellite market? How have things evolved over the last year or so?
I believe Starlink’s goals include a 12,000-unit constellation. Assuming supply chain and labour issues normalise or see some relief over the next 12-24 months, what is the most significant limiting factor on SpaceX reaching its full size in orbit and operational?
What is the most significant limiting factor on SpaceX reaching its full constellation size?
You mentioned SpaceX saying it’s building eight satellites per day. How do you expect that number to evolve? If it’s at eight today, over what timeline should we see significant increases to 10 or 15 per day? Could you walk us through the production side and your expectations there?
You mentioned going from the Falcon 9 to the Starship is a pretty big leap in terms of the amount of satellites Starlink could put on there, as well as the target of 100 satellites per launch. How feasible is the idea that the company could start daily launches with the Starship? Is that realistic or aggressive?
Is there anything else we should be considering on SpaceX’s ability to get satellites up into space? As you mentioned, it comes down to the Starship, but are there any other factors that analysts should be considering around how the company’s production and capacity will evolve?
I believe the approval comes from the FCC [Federal Communications Commission], and SpaceX is seeking to get another 30,000 satellites approved, but it seems there’s been some concern on traffic congestion and potential collisions. How likely is it that the company gets the 30,000 approved? What could be the key areas where it might get pushback?
What are the key factors that the FCC is evaluating to consider if launching 30,000 satellites can be done safely?
How many satellites can LEO handle before it becomes overly congested and the issues you raised become more of a concern? Obviously, there are many different altitudes, so could you discuss how to think about the limit of LEO satellites in space?
How should we be sizing SpaceX’s TAM? I’d assume most people have seen the Ark open source model that points to two major customer buckets of USD 10-20 per month and USD 70-100 per month, with nearly USD 6bn in addressable annual revenue. Are those good ballpark figures, or would you recommend some adjustments? How else do you look at the addressable market?
How do you expect SpaceX’s customer buckets to look and evolve, touching on the customer groups and how penetration rates will look?
On the mobility piece, I saw SpaceX was in talks with Delta Airlines, and signed an agreement with Hawaiian Airlines to provide service in April 2022. How large is the opportunity with airlines?
What is Starlink’s expected reach over the next 3-5-10 years? The company has about 250,000 customers today and there are forecasts for 40 million by 2025. Does that figure seem attainable to you? How do you expect customers to evolve and where might we see some inflection point and exponential growth?
I want to touch on your growing pains comment. Obviously, going from 250,000 customers to the 40 million figure would be significant growth. What are the growing pains our clients and investors should be monitoring to make sure everything is in check?
You mentioned some difficult countries, some easier and some crucial ones. What are the crucial countries that SpaceX needs to see higher penetration in and what might be the more difficult countries to penetrate?
What are the key regulatory challenges or hurdles Starlink must overcome over the next 2-5-10 years?
Could you elaborate on the sharing of frequencies with OneWeb? As capacity evolves and more satellites go up, will that become an increasing issue? How should we think about that developing? You mentioned both companies could be sacrificing a bit as they’re sharing the same frequency.
I saw, back in 2020, the figure that one in 40 of SpaceX’s satellites will fail, and that’s not to mention factors such as geomagnetic storms that could disrupt satellites. Would you expect that one-in-40 figure to remain the standard as SpaceX ramps up, or has the company materially fixed those issues and it’s less so? How should we be thinking about the fail rate of these satellites?
Is there anything we’re missing in discussing Starlink? Should investors or anyone looking at this company be evaluating anything else?
Is there anything that’s perhaps commonly under-appreciated or overlooked when it comes to LEOs and GEOs [geostationary Earth orbits], or anything about Starlink or SpaceX that you’d question why there isn’t more focus from investors?
You mentioned the idea of the US government commissioning SpaceX spacecraft, and in June 2021, there was a pretty notable comment from Founder, CEO and Chief Engineer Elon Musk saying Starlink needed around USD 30bn to survive. Obviously, the company hasn’t raised the USD 30bn he alluded to, but is that a real risk here? Is there any real risk of bankruptcy? What would you be concerned about in that realm?
What questions should investors be asking Elon Musk and the SpaceX management team? What are the most important questions or topics our clients should be evaluating?
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