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SpaceX may spend billions to outsource Starlink satellite dish production, an industry insider says

SpaceX may spend billions to outsource Starlink satellite dish production, an industry insider says

Spectators watch from Canaveral National Seashore as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink satellites launches from pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on October 6, 2020.
Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images




SpaceX recently launched a public beta test for Starlink, its growing network of internet-beaming satellites.




Test subscribers pay $99 per month for broadband-like service, plus a $499 fee for a starter kit that includes a "UFO on a stick" user terminal, or satellite dish.




But each user terminal contains a phased-array antenna, which industry experts say can't be made for less than $1,000.




SpaceX hired STMicroelectronics to manufacture Starlink user terminals, a person with knowledge of the agreement told Business Insider.




A teardown video posted to YouTube on Wednesday appears to corroborate the claim, as it shows STM-branded components.




The contract with the Swiss-headquartered manufacturing giant calls for the production of 1 million terminals and may be worth billions of dollars, the person said.




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


SpaceX is outsourcing a key element of its Starlink satellite-internet network with a manufacturing deal worth billions of dollars, an industry insider tells Business Insider.Job postings and statements by SpaceX officials a?? including founder Elon Musk a?? over the past two years indicate the company wants to make as many Starlink components as possible in-house, at its facilities in Redmond, Washington. For example, SpaceX is building about six 550-pound satellites per day there, Jonathan Hofeller, head of Starlink and commercial sales, said during an August conference.Company reps have revealed less about the production of its consumer-facing Starlink user terminal a?? the satellite dish that allows customers to get service a?? including who's building them, or where, or at what cost.In March, the FCC granted SpaceX's request to deploy 1 million of the units. In September, SpaceX told the agency that it's "on track to produce thousands of consumer user terminals per month" and that it's "heading toward high-rate production."
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