Blaming inflation, SpaceX raises Starlink and launch prices

WASHINGTON — SpaceX has hiked prices for its Starlink broadband service and dedicated and rideshare launches, in some cases by as much as 20%, citing inflation.

The company informed customers of its Starlink service on March 22 of a price increase for the service itself as well as for the terminal. The cost of the service, which was $99 in the United States, rose 11% to $110. The terminal, which cost $499 in the United States, rose to $549 for those who had already paid a deposit and $599 for new customers, the latter a 20% increase. Starlink customers in other countries have reported receiving similar notices of price increases.

“The sole purpose of these adjustments is to keep pace with rising inflation,” SpaceX said in the message to customers, which also mentioned “excessive levels of inflation.” The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on March 10 that inflation over the previous 12 months was 7.9% before seasonal adjustments, the highest rate in four decades.

Starlink isn’t the only service for which SpaceX has recently raised prices. SpaceX’s smallsat carpool program now charges $1.1 million to place up to 200 kilograms into sun-synchronous orbits, with additional mass costing $5,500 per kilogram. The company has already charged $1 million for up to 200 kilograms and $5,000 per kilogram for additional mass. The new prices represent a 10% increase. “Prices were adjusted in March 2022 to account for excessive levels of inflation,” the company said on its website.

SpaceX has also increased the prices for dedicated Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches. A price sheet on the company’s website now lists a price of $67 million for a Falcon 9 and $97 million for a Falcon Heavy. A version of this document from earlier this year listed prices of $62 million for the Falcon 9 and $90 million for the Falcon Heavy. The new prices reflect increases of approximately 8%.

“Price adjustments made in March 2022 to account for excessive levels of inflation,” the company says on the fee schedule. “Missions purchased in 2022 but completed beyond 2023 may be subject to additional adjustments due to inflation.”

SpaceX executives speaking at the Satellite 2022 conference here did not discuss Starlink or launch services cost increases. An increase in launch costs in particular is unlikely to have a significant effect on demand for Falcon launches given the limited supply of competing launchers currently.

“We’ve been both fortunate and successful in deploying a near-global capability,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, said of Starlink during a panel at the March 22 conference.

“At least before Starlink, there were a lot of very unhappy broadband customers in the US, so we’re learning how to make them happy,” she added. “We are learning as we go and getting new clients every day.”

SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk, who also heads automaker Tesla, recently complained about the effects of inflation on the two companies. “Tesla and SpaceX are seeing significant recent inflationary pressure in raw materials and logistics,” he said. tweeted March 13.

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