Op-ed | Can SpaceX profit on certain Starlink launches?

[Excerpt] It is no longer a surprise to industry observers that partial reusability, economies of scale and vertical integration have enabled SpaceX to achieve extremely low Falcon 9 launch costs, nor is it a surprise that SpaceX’s launch and satellite connectivity businesses are inherently linked, as the company takes advantage of its industry-low launch costs to orbit its own broadband constellation for a fraction of the competition’s launch capital expenditure.

It may however remain a surprise to some that Starlink is also linked to SpaceX’s Smallsat Rideshare program, revealed August 2019, and that SpaceX will further reduce the Starlink launch capex by manifesting paying customers as rideshare payloads on some Starlink launches. In doing so, it may even break even or make a profit on such Starlink rideshare missions, on the condition that it identifies and contracts enough rideshare customers to offset the cost of a launch.

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