Starlink staying private in 2024

SpaceX will not pursue an initial public offering of its Starlink unit this year, according to Bret Johnsen, the company’s chief financial officer.

“It’d be more in the years to come,” Johnsen said Tuesday at an industry conference. The unit became profitable for the first time at the end of last year, he said while declining to provide more details.

SpaceX executives have hinted over the years at the possibility of a Starlink IPO.

Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s chief operating officer, first floated the idea of a spinoff for Starlink in 2020.

But chief executive officer Elon Musk has said that it doesn’t make sense to take the initiative public until its revenue flow is more predictable.

The closely held startup, which boasts a valuation of some $180 billion, eventually plans to use Starship to launch satellites for its Starlink space-based Internet service.

Shotwell said the company hopes to conduct the next Starship test flight in about six weeks, though that likely won’t have satellites on board.

On March 14, SpaceX conducted its third and most successful test flight of Starship, though the vehicle was lost when returning to Earth.

Shotwell said earlier during the conference that she would “love to get Starship into orbit” this year.

She wants to use the vehicle to deploy satellites, as well as demonstrate the ability to recover the rocket and its massive booster after flight.

She also said the company wasn’t focused on a Starlink IPO, instead aiming to improve the offering, including transmission speed.

The COO also announced that SpaceX will soon commercialise its Starlink satellite laser links by offering them to other satellite providers.

This capability puts lasers on board satellites, giving them the ability to communicate with each other and share data.

This initiative will begin rolling out as early as this summer on an upcoming SpaceX mission called Polaris Dawn.

That flight, which will carry four astronauts to orbit including billionaire Jared Isaacman, aims to perform the first commercial spacewalk with a SpaceX-developed spacesuit.

Shotwell said that the plan is to connect SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which carries the astronauts, to the internet via the new laser-link capability.

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Starlink staying private in 2024