Starship, a reusable rocket, could become the key to SpaceX’s success. One challenge stands in the way. The rocket must work. Space is the biggest pain point on SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s agenda. 2022 will be a decisive year.
Elon Musk achieved several milestones in the past year as CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Time magazine voted Musk its 2021 Person of the Year. He could have an instant impact on the stock market — “with an army of admirers behind him,” according to Time.
Musk himself does not seem to have time to dwell on such statements. The pace of the modern Space Race is accelerating. SpaceX is no longer the only promising internet provider of satellite networks. Competition comes from a European quarter. The big question is what Musk has planned for SpaceX in 2022.
According to the Wall Street Journal, SpaceX wants to use its reusable Starship rocket to travel to Mars. That is what Musk has personally dreamed of for years. The business utility of Starship is at least as great. SpaceX hopes to use the rocket to expand Starlink (SpaceX’s satellite network). Several investors believe that Starlink will ultimately provide the majority of SpaceX’s revenue.
The road there is bumpy. SpaceX is struggling with a design that actually makes the Starship rocket reusable. Musk recently shared that the rocket takes more time than any other ongoing project. He warned that Starship and Starlink create huge challenges for SpaceX. If the organization does not succeed in completing the development in time, the consequences are drastic. “A hard, hard, hard project”, described the CEO in his mother tongue.
In addition to completing Starship, SpaceX wants to accelerate the pace of satellite launches. In July of this year, the organization confirmed it had 1,800 satellites in the sky. That number promises to rise quickly. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a US telecom authority, grants licenses for the launch of new satellites. Currently, SpaceX has permission for 12,000 satellites. Insufficient, according to the organization. A recent filing with the FCC shows that SpaceX is targeting 42,000 satellites.
Other organisations, including OneWeb, are simultaneously working on their own satellite networks. Amazon has concrete plans to take the first steps for a network in the near future. A logical initiative, because although the world is digitizing at lightning speed, the demand for an internet connection remains high. It is estimated by the United Nations that 3.7 billion people worldwide do not have an Internet connection. Satellite networks can provide the connection for hard-to-reach regions. The market is huge.