SpaceX: Starlink's Uncertain Demand Trajectory
Elon R. Musk, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), was on a mission to provide people in rural and remote areas with affordable, reliable Internet access. Starlink-a constellation of 12,000 satellites to be launched into low Earth orbit (LEO)-was to provide a seamless web of high-speed, low-latency Internet access to anyone with a coordinating ground station. If revenue from the project materialized as forecast, the income stream could help fund Musk's bigger mission: getting people to Mars. The project was not without its challenges, however. LEO satellites had failed in the past, and the market emphasis was the launch of the fifth-generation mobile network (5G) and extending that service to rural areas. Further, competition was increasing, as other companies were entering the segment. Another problem was the clutter and light pollution that the satellites created in orbit. How could Musk increase demand for Starlink's services, and how should he prioritize and tackle the challenges his project faced? Arpita Agnihotri is affiliated with Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg. Saurabh Bhattacharya is affiliated with Newcastle University.