Elon Musk talks Starlink strategy, $5-10 billion investment
Elon Musk talks Starlink strategy, $5-10 billion investment
15:32

Elon Musk talks Starlink strategy, $5-10 billion investment

Tech Industry
Speaker 1: Elon, we're going to talk obviously about SpaceX, the wider goals for SpaceX. Um, before we do that, I would love to focus on Starlink. Now, this is a plan to provide the world with broadband coverage via satellites. You've actually compare the project to rebuilding the internet in space. You're an engineer at heart Elon. Um, what has [00:00:30] driven you to take on this new challenge? Speaker 2: Well, uh, there's a need for connectivity in places that don't have it right now or, or where it is. Uh, connectivity is very limited or, or very expensive. Um, it's, uh, at many possible, like I said, this is simply not available. So, uh, you can think of Starlink as filling in the gaps between, uh, 5g, uh, and, uh, fiber [00:01:00] and, um, and really getting to the parts of the world that are the, the hardest reach, the, the, the, the most difficult to reach, uh, 3%, possibly 5%. Um, and I think it really quite nicely compliments, uh, fiber and, uh, and 5g, Speaker 1: Nice complimentary technology you're saying. And, and what a bit deeper into that. Um, Elon, first of all, give us a bit of a kind of high level overview as to how far progressed [00:01:30] Starlink actually is. What have you done so far? Speaker 2: So, uh, we've, we've launched and, and now have active, uh, over 1500 satellites. Um, let's see. The, I mean, there are a few interesting stats that the combined power satellites is over five megawats, so they're, um, there's over five megawats of solar from all the satellites combined. Uh it's um, they're capable of outputting about 30 Tets per [00:02:00] second of, uh, data. And, um, and, and starting in, uh, actually next month, um, almost almost next month, I should say, starting in August, uh, we should have, uh, global connectivity, uh, or everywhere except the polls. Um, uh, I know, as I said, it's, it's it's for as vastly populated, uh, regions. Um, so [00:02:30] the, uh, cause our, our spot size talking, talking in terms of cellular is, uh, quite big. So we're also to load to medium density areas, but, but not to high density areas, uh, in the high density area is we'll be able to, uh, serve a limited number of customers. Speaker 2: Um, and, um, but it is operational. Um, we recently passed the strategically notable number of 69,004, [00:03:00] 20 active, uh, users. Um, and we're, I think on our way to having a few hundred thousand, uh, users, uh, possibly, uh, over 500,000 users, um, within, uh, 12 months. So I think so it's grow, it's growing rapidly, um, and we're continuing to innovate the user terminal and the, uh, the satellite and the, [00:03:30] uh, the ground stations and, uh, sort of gateways and points of presence. Um, I think we're operational now at about 12 countries, uh, and, uh, more being added every month. So it's, um, like I said, it's a nice compliment, uh, to fiber and to 5g. Um, and, uh, it's also, uh, although we can't talk about, about those deals, uh, today, cause our partners not ready to announce them and it can be [00:04:00] quite useful to a lot of telcos for, uh, data back haul. Speaker 2: Uh, so, uh, just, you know, if you people have cellular stations in remote regions, uh, just, uh, using Starlink for data back haul to their network, uh, can be, uh, a very cost effective way of, of doing the, um, and then, uh, notably for solving relative to say other satellite communication systems. Uh, we are [00:04:30] at around 500 kilometers, uh, whereas, uh, the geosynchronous satellites are around 36,000 kilometers. So latency for installing system is, uh, similar to latency, foreground based, uh, fiber and, uh, and 5g. So we're expecting to get latency down under 20 milliseconds. Um, so you can still do it. It feels very fast, like there's no lag and you can, [00:05:00] you can play for example, competitive video games on the selling system. Speaker 1: This is a, a very tough market Elon. I mean, if we look back over the last couple of decades, it has been litter with failure. We go first, far back as the 1990s, there are big names, um, that, uh, no longer are with us. They've, they've tried to make satellite ball band the success. You've also now got strong competition, um, the likes of, uh, of Amazon and one web, but also now attempting to launch [00:05:30] new satellite broadband projects. Um, what is it that, that makes Starling different to, to what's gone on in decades beforehand, Elon, but also with your new as well? What is it that that makes you different? Speaker 2: Yes. Um, well, when I gave a talk a few years ago about Starlink, I was asked for what, what's my goal for Starlink. And I said, well, our goal is not to go bankrupt, uh, [00:06:00] because, uh, every, as you point out, um, every other lower orbit communications constellation, um, ever done has gone bankrupt. Uh, now some of them have emerged from bankruptcy. Um, but, but the let's just say the original owners, uh, did not from, from those constellations. So, um, yeah, they've either gone bankrupt after, in most of them went bankrupt before or even, uh, deploying their constellation fully and, and, uh, even [00:06:30] the ones did deploy their, their constellation. They, they still were bankrupt, you know, um, they, that subsequently emerge from bankruptcy, but, you know, um, and obviously companies like Irid and OCOM are, are doing ably well today, but, but not for the original, uh, owners. Speaker 2: Um, so step number one for star is do bankrupt. That is, uh, and, you know, if we, if we succeed in not going [00:07:00] bankrupt, then, then that'll be great and we can move on from there. Um, uh, but I, I do think from, from a technology standpoint, uh, Starlink is, uh, quite different from prior Leo constellations in that the technology that we're deploying is, is very advanced, uh, what happens often with space based technology. Um, so ironically is that it tends to be, um, uh, older technology that exists [00:07:30] on the ground. Uh, so people, companies generally have been very conservative, so they they've said, well, we want, we want technologies. That's proven to work on the ground. And then we have to test it very, you know, four or four years to make sure it's gonna work in the back of the space with, you know, a higher radiation load and that kind of thing. Speaker 2: And, uh, and so the technology that's generally been launched into orbit has been, uh, older technology and we took the opposite approach and said, we're gonna make technology that is, uh, [00:08:00] in some ways, at least, uh, more advanced than what is on the ground and reducing our chance. And, and, uh, so we have, uh, what's probably fair to say are the most sophisticated of the most advance, uh, phase array, uh, technologies that, uh, best of knowledge, no one has not even, it's not, not even at sort of military level. Uh, it has this level of sophistication with phase three technology. Um, and, um, [00:08:30] that's, that's sort of quite important for, uh, a fast moving rear constellation because the, the terminal, um, which is user to is also phase array, uh, and the terminal on these, the tool on the satellite, they tend on the satellite they're, they're both base array, so you can switch, uh, from one satellite that's moving rapidly, overhead to another one, uh, and do so, uh, at the microsecond level. Speaker 2: So there's, no, [00:09:00] you can't tell, uh, as, as the system is switching over one satellite to another, um, there's no, um, change in latency or from one satellite to another, um, and a single satellite, uh, can, um, illuminate, uh, many different, uh, use sales spots on the ground. Uh, so, and it's, and it's, and it's a digital phase array system. So, uh, we can continue to program or, and, and reprogram the system, [00:09:30] uh, to greater efficiency because it is digital. So like said the best of our knowledge is the most, uh, advanced phase rate system in the world. Um, so that's pretty cool. Um, we also, um, have a advantage of a, of a launch system that is capable of very high launch rate and, and cap of putting a lot of master orbit. Um, I believe, um, last year SpaceX, uh, delivered about two thirds of [00:10:00] all, uh, payload to orbit. Speaker 2: And, uh, this year we may, uh, deliver closer to 80% of all payload to orbit of earth just with that, you know, so, and all the remaining course for this year, if we actually put close to 80% or payload to toward would, but, uh, our remain let's say roughly 20%, about 12% would be China or their amounts. And then 8% is everyone else. So [00:10:30] the year to share, uh, mass over capability of the nine rocket is, uh, us, it is re reusable booster and the, the faring is reusable. So we only have to make the upper stage, uh, is, um, that that has never existed before. Um, and the, and the cost of mass also is the lowest it is ever been. So, uh, cause reusability. So this is, uh, the, the two, well to get work together quite well. Um, [00:11:00] but it has been quite an adventure learning how, how to make these advanced satellites and learning how to make so many of them and, and the use terminal the gateway. Um, now the satellites, for example, use a space developed, uh, crypto, um, or which basically shoots out high speed ion of crypto. It's kinda cool. Two men would watch out for our satellite, don't go close to them. Speaker 2: It's all like, [00:11:30] um, and, um, just in general, it's, it's quite a clever satellite, and then we're getting close to launching satellite 1.5, which has LA laser inter satellite links. Um, and that'll be used for, especially for, uh, continuous connectivity over the, uh, Arctic and Antarctic regions, uh, or basically the, the high polar regions high, the higher latitude regions. Um, and then next year we'll start launching [00:12:00] a version two of our satellite, which will be significantly more capable. Um, and then, you know, all satellites from 1.5 onwards, we'll have satellite links. Um, and then we'll start to our gateways and our, uh, points presence to, uh, really directly to the, um, the major server centers. Uh, so the data really goes directly from user terminal, from user terminal directly to [00:12:30] the, uh, server center. So some is using, uh, YouTube or Netflix or, uh, or, uh, you know, Google search or Xbox, whatever the case may be, uh, services, the, the flows in the shortest possible that's minimizing latency in general. Um, so even if, even if big chunks of the internet, uh, go down, um, then you still have [00:13:00] connectivity. Um, so I'm pretty excited about the future. It's looking, you know, we're getting over confidence, but it's looking quite positive. Uh, and like I said, uh, just as a, as a great natural compliment to, um, uh, major telco fiber and, uh, 5g Speaker 1: Talk us through, if you can, Elon the, the finances of this huge project, how much are you investing in Starling? How much are you prepared to invest in Starling? Speaker 2: [00:13:30] Well, um, I think it much depends on how you count investment. Uh, it, it sort of, what's the total of, I mean, one way to count investment is like, what's the total amount of money invested before, so like becomes positive cash. Um, and, um, and then do you, how much of that do you include about nine and everything we've done there? Um, you know, I think probably before we go to, [00:14:00] you know, fully positive cashflow, it, it might be, it'll be at least 5 billion, uh, and maybe as much as 10. Um, so it's quite a lot. Um, and, um, yeah, and then if you say like, well, how much are we gonna invest? Even after goes positive cashflow? I think we'll have to cause you keep investing a great deal after that point in order to not be made, [00:14:30] um, irrelevant by continued improvements in, uh, cellular and can continued extens cellular, um, or, or, or, uh, or, or lower cost, uh, geosynchronous satellites, uh, which, uh, you know, geosynchronous satellites offer a, a, a bear large SW territory, but, but the total banner they can serve is, is not that great. And the, uh, latency is high. Uh, but still we, we, we need to be able to [00:15:00] offer our service at a, you know, a comparable or ideally lower rate than, um, GTO, uh, satellite connectivity. Um, so anyway, so it's basically total investment probably is like at least five, maybe 10 billion. And then, um, over time, it's gonna be so multiple of that. I don't know. We took 20 or 30 billion over time. There's [00:15:30] a lot, basically.

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