According to documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal, SpaceX’s satellite internet service Starlink generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2022. Although this figure is up from $222 million in the previous year, it falls significantly short of the company’s original projection of $12 billion. Additionally, by the end of last year, Starlink had over 1 million active subscribers, far below the estimated 20 million subscribers projected by SpaceX.
The profitability of Starlink took a hit in 2022, but a report by The Wall Street Journal in the previous month stated that SpaceX managed to turn a profit in the first quarter of 2023. At a conference, SpaceX executive Jonathan Hofeller confirmed that the company is no longer incurring losses for producing Starlink’s satellite antennas.
In a 2015 investor presentation, SpaceX initially predicted $12 billion in revenue and $7 billion in operating profit for Starlink in 2022. However, the division failed to meet these projections. Despite the setback, there has been growth in Starlink’s user base. By May 2023, the company reported approximately 1.5 million users, surpassing the 1 million mark from the previous year.
It’s worth noting that Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, had previously stated on Twitter that Starlink was losing about $20 million per month to maintain its services. However, Musk also mentioned that despite the financial losses, SpaceX would continue funding the Ukrainian government for free.
According to an excerpt from an upcoming book by Walter Isaacson, government agencies eventually began paying for increased Starlink service in Ukraine. This contradicts a statement made by SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, who claimed that Elon Musk’s reversal of financial support was influenced by pressure from critics and leaked stories from the Pentagon.
Overall, while Starlink’s revenue in 2022 fell short of expectations, the service has seen an increase in subscribers and the company remains optimistic about its future profitability.