WASHINGTON — SpaceX has raised over $1 billion in new capital this year as it embarks on the deployment of its Starlink broadband constellation, according to regulatory filings published Friday.
The launch provider turned satellite operator raised $486.2 million in one round, and $535.7 million in another, the company said in May 24 filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The filings show SpaceX sold all but $18.8 million of the shares available between the two rounds. The company raised $1.022 billion in total.
SpaceX is currently building two capital-intensive projects — the fully reusable Super Heavy booster with its Starship upper stage, and the Starlink broadband megaconstellation of up to 12,000 satellites.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in 2017 that the plan for funding Starship and Super Heavy — then called the Big Falcon Rocket — involved replacing SpaceX’s current Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets with the new launch system. In a call with reporters last week, Musk said SpaceX believes it can also use Starlink revenue to fund the new launch system.
How SpaceX would fund Starlink has remained a subject of discussion within the satellite industry. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and COO estimated last year that the constellation would cost around $10 billion.
SpaceX generated $2 billion in launch revenue last year, according to a May 19 report from Jefferies Financial Group.
Musk didn’t give an updated figure for Starlink, but said launch revenue and capital raised provide the company with enough resources to undertake the massive project.
“At this point it looks like we have sufficient capital to get to an operational level,” he said of Starlink.
Musk said Starlink needs around 800 satellites to reach “significant operational capability,” and around 1,000 satellites to become “economically viable.”
Musk said Starlink doesn’t need 12,000 satellites to be successful, rather that SpaceX could scale the constellation up to that number based on demand. Ideally, SpaceX will have Starship and Super Heavy in service “by the time we are anywhere near 12,000 satellites,” he said, providing another way to lower the cost of deploying the constellation.
SpaceX’s most recently disclosed rounds followed an unusual filing last month that showed SpaceX as having raised just $44 million after offering to sell $400 million in shares and equity. Musk suggested that information was out of date.
“I wouldn’t say that our funding rounds came short,” he said. “In fact, they’ve been oversubscribed for SpaceX.”