A SpaceX stock initial public offering (IPO) could be even more likely after CEO Elon Musk asked for government’s permission to put thousands of Internet satellites into orbit earlier this week.
SpaceX’s plan is to deploy a network of 4,000 small and cheap geosynchronous satellites to beam signals down to Earth. These SpaceX satellites would be set up in a low-Earth orbit, allowing them to reach more areas and hand off connections to improve reliability and speed.
Even today, there are large swaths of the U.S. and other developed nations that have little or no access to high-speed Internet. If there are only a few potential customers in an area, it makes no economic sense for Internet service providers to build out expensive infrastructure. That leaves those people with limited options like dial-up and traditional satellite Internet.
Musk plans to change that. He’s hopeful satellites can enhance the access to Internet signals so it’s cheaper and faster, even to places that have struggled to get connected.
SpaceX will still have to wait on permission from the Federal Communications Commission before the company will be able to proceed. If approved, the project could be a source of funds for future space exploration. Elon Musk sees it as the first step on the way to putting mankind on Mars.
For investors, the announcement also boosts the odds of a much-anticipated SpaceX IPO later this year. SpaceX’s satellite Internet project is expensive, with a price tag of over $10.0 billion by Musk’s estimation. So far, the company has raised over $1.0 billion from Google Inc. (NASDAQ/GOOG) and other investors.
SpaceX will likely have to tap equity markets to fund the difference. Analysts speculate that today’s decision will likely result in SpaceX going public later this year. Ordinary investors could soon be able to invest in SpaceX stock, becoming a part owner in one of the most exciting businesses around today.