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On March 18, in the midst of the pandemic, SpaceX successfully launched its sixth batch of Starlink internet broadband satellites into orbit atop a Falcon 9 reusable rocket. (The rocket later missed its landing due to an engine malfunction — but having flown five missions in a row, it was getting a bit old anyway.) 

With roughly 350 satellites now in orbit, SpaceX is almost halfway to reaching its goal of orbiting the 800 satellites necessary to deliver “moderate” internet coverage to all places on Earth. Complete coverage will still require 12,000 satellites — and 194 more launches — or another 7.5 years of launching at the present pace of two launches per month, 60 satellites per launch.

So how will SpaceX come up with the money it needs to build and launch (and refurbish and relaunch) 200 rockets, not to mention the 12,000 satellites they are carrying?


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