Elon Musk May Wait Until 2026 to Make SpaceX's Starlink Public

The CEO said Starlink needs to be in a more "smooth sailing situation" before an IPO of the space-based internet service.

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk keeps delaying going public with the internet satellite business.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk keeps delaying going public with the internet satellite business.
Photo: Patrick Pleul (AP)

Investors wanting to get their hands on stocks of SpaceX’s satellite megaconstellation will have to wait a bit longer. CEO Elon Musk recently told employees that he’s not likely to make SpaceX’s Starlink public for another three to four years, CNBC reports. 

During an all-hands meeting of the company’s employees last week, Musk reportedly said that SpaceX’s initial public offering (IPO) won’t be for another three to four years from now, according to an audio recording of the meeting acquired by CNBC. Musk declared that Starlink needs to be “in a smooth sailing situation” with “good predictability.”

Musk had initially planned to take Starlink public as early as this year, according to a 2019 e-mail to employees obtained by CNBC. But now, the billionaire seems wary of taking his internet megaconstellation public. “Being public is definitely an invitation to pain,” the billionaire told SpaceX employees Thursday. “And the stock price is just distracting.”


Starlink is not yet fully operational, but it’s getting there. So far, SpaceX has about 2,300 functioning Starlink satellites working in low Earth orbit. But Musk is still hoping to launch a staggering total of 42,000 satellites to enable broadband internet access across the world.

The satellites are currently beaming down connectivity in parts of the U.S. and Canada, as well as New Zealand, some parts of Australia, the United Kingdom, as well as some European countries like Spain and France. SpaceX is hoping to expand its service to the rest of the world by the end of the year. The company is also looking to collaborate with commercial partners. In April, Starlink announced its first partnership with a major airline, Hawaiian Airlines, to provide free in-flight Wi-Fi. Last month, SpaceX revealed the design of its next generation of Starlink satellites, which are going to be bigger and better, according to Musk.


SpaceX relies on funding and profits to power its production of Starlink satellites and the Falcon 9 rockets that deliver the units to orbit. In addition, the company has a partnership with NASA to transport the agency’s astronauts to and from the International Space Station on board SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. The company reportedly raised at least $1.5 billion in its latest funding round, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More: Elon Musk Reveals Details of Next-Generation Starlink Satellites