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SpaceX raises launch and Starlink pricing, blaming inflation

Inflation has caused SpaceX to increase pricing for its Starlink broadband service as well as dedicated and rideshare flights by up to 20% in some situations.

Customers of the company’s Starlink service were notified on March 22 of a price hike for both the service and the terminal. The price of the service, which was formerly $99 in the United States, has risen by 11% to $110. The terminal, which had previously cost $499 in the United States, now costs $549 for existing clients and $599 for new users, a 20 percent increase. Customers in other nations have reported receiving similar price rise warnings.

“The primary aim of these revisions is to maintain pace with rising inflation,” SpaceX said in a statement to clients, which also highlighted “excessive inflation levels.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated on March 10 that inflation in the previous year was 7.9% before seasonal modifications, the highest rate in 40 years.

SpaceX has lately raised costs on several services, including Starlink. The cost of placing up to 200 kilos into sun-synchronous orbits with SpaceX’s smallsat rideshare initiative is currently $1.1 million, with extra mass costing $5,500 for every kilogram. Previously, the corporation charged $1 million for a maximum of 200 kilograms and $5,000 every kilogram after that. The new pricing reflects a 10% increase above the previous ones. The corporation announced on its website that “pricing was modified in March 2022 to cater for extreme levels of inflation.”

Costs for dedicated Falcon 9 as well as Falcon Heavy launches have also increased. A Falcon 9 costs $67 million and a Falcon Heavy costs $97 million, according to a price list on the company’s website. Earlier last year, a copy of that document stated that the Falcon 9 would cost $62 million and the Falcon Heavy would cost $90 million. The higher prices represent an increase of around 8%.

The company writes on the price sheet that “pricing adjustments were implemented in March 2022 to cater for excess levels of inflation.” “Inflationary adjustments may be required for missions bought in 2022 however flown after 2023.”

Cost hikes for Starlink or launch services were not mentioned by SpaceX executives presenting at the Satellite 2022 event. Given the current scarcity of rival launch vehicles, a rise in launch costs is unlikely to have a substantial impact on demand for Falcon launches.

During a panel discussion at the conference on March 22, Gwynne Shotwell, who works as the chief operating officer and president of SpaceX, said of Starlink, “We’ve been both lucky and successful bringing out a capability that is near-global.”

“There were many disgruntled broadband consumers in the United States before Starlink, so we’re studying how to make them happy,” she continued. “We’re discovering as we go, and we’re acquiring new consumers on a daily basis,” says the entrepreneur.

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