SpaceX has achieved another major milestone by surpassing 500,000 pre-orders for its Starlink satellite Internet service.
The company’s operations engineer Siva Bharadvaj verified these figures during SpaceX’s most recent Starlink launch, saying that to date “over half a million people have placed an order or put down a deposit for Starlink”.
The flight – which took place on Tuesday 4 May – marked the company’s 26th mission launching satellites into low-earth orbit to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband cover-age.
According to CNBC, SpaceX has already deployed more than 1,500 Starlink satellites, making it the world’s largest satellite constellation.
Starlink first went live in a public beta in October 2020.
In a filing with US federal regulators in February, SpaceX reported that Starlink had “over 10,000 users in the United States and abroad”.
In that same month, it began taking pre-orders for its Internet services across the world, including in South Africa.
Reaching more than half a million orders showed that demand for its service was growing, however, it’s uncertain how many of these orders will convert into actual customers.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has tweeted that the only limitation will be in high-density urban areas.
“Most likely, all of the initial 500k will receive service. More of a challenge when we get into the several million user range,” he added.
Starlink pricing and coverage
SpaceX currently charges $99 a month and $499 upfront for a Starlink starter kit, which includes the Starlink dish antenna, Wi-Fi router, power supply, cables, and a mounting tripod.
If they are in an area where coverage will be available, they can put down a deposit of $99 to secure the equipment.
This will be subtracted from the $499 equipment fee.
The following image shows Starlink’s homepage, where users can enter their address to see their coverage.