When asked about the Bloomberg report at a satellite conference on Monday, Musk said that SpaceX is putting “zero” thought toward a Starlink IPO, contradicting Shotwell’s prior statement.
“We have to make [Starlink] work,” he said, acknowledging that previous efforts by other startups to build cheap satellite-based internet have ended in bankruptcy.
Currently, Musk added, the company is focused on deploying the Starlink constellation — which will consist of thousands of small satellites that will blanket the planet in internet connectivity — without running out of money.
SpaceX has deployed Starlink satellites at breakneck pace over the past few months: About 300 of SpaceX’s small satellites now orbit the planet, and Musk has said his goal is to sign up the first Starlink customers this year.
SpaceX is pouring much of its cash and resources into building Starlink and ramping up work on perhaps its riskiest venture: Developing a rocket capable of carrying humans to Mars. Early prototypes are under construction at a SpaceX facility in Texas.
A SpaceX spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment about the CNBC report.
SpaceX maintains a healthy core business of launching satellites and cargo for commercial companies, the US military and NASA. It’s also due to begin ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station in coming months.
Musk has also said often that he does not plan to take SpaceX public until after the company has achieved its most ambitious goals, including establishing a settlement on Mars.
It’s not clear if Musk on Monday meant to indicate that SpaceX would never consider spinning off Starlink from the core company and taking it public. He said only that SpaceX is focused on proving that such a satellite constellation can work and be offered to consumers at an affordable price.