Elon Musk’s SpaceX is having a banner year, and apparently things just keep getting better: On Tuesday, the company announced that it has received upwards of 500,000 orders for its satellite internet service, Starlink.
“To date, over half a million people have placed an order or put down a deposit for Starlink,” SpaceX operations engineer Siva Bharadvaj said during a launch event broadcasting its 26th Starlink mission.
Starlink is SpaceX’s planned interconnected internet network, which already features thousands of active satellites — an array known in the space industry as a constellation — that are designed to work together in order to deliver high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet.
Back in December 2020, Starlink won a massive government contract — to the tune of $US885 ($1,150) million — to provide high-speed internet to underserved, rural areas of the U.S. The contract came just two months after SpaceX had begun a public beta program for Starlink, pricing internet service at $US99 ($129) a month on top of a $US499 ($648) upfront cost that includes a user terminal and Wi-Fi router to connect to the satellites.
In its current form, Starlink is already the world’s largest satellite constellation, with more than 1,500 Starlink satellites currently in orbit.
Deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed, completing SpaceX’s 10th Starlink mission this year pic.twitter.com/hbL8UV15hk
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 4, 2021
Despite the announcement of over half a million orders already in play, those numbers are subject to change; as of now, all of those orders are still “completely refundable.” In a Tuesday tweet, Musk himself acknowledged that the preliminary sales numbers were also limited by “high density of users in urban areas.”
“Most likely, all of the initial 500k will receive service,” he wrote. “More of a challenge when we get into the several million user range.”