The recent approval of the FCC towards the launch of the star-link constellation is indicative that from just being a company in the upstream segment,Space X is branching out into the downstream segment as well. As i think about it, this sort of approach to launch their own satellites and provide broadband services will ultimately jeopardize the revenue stream of the satellite operators,but this will also result in the operators choosing a different launch vehicle route to space to launch their own satellites. Elon surely would've considered this risk in mind however the revenue generation provided by the constellation will certainly fuel his mars ambitions. The launch of his 11,956+ satellites would also necessitate the utilization of the falcon 9 and Heavy for every week for the next 6 years if we take into account an estimate the number of satellites that can be accommodated per launch, if following the FCC mandate of constellation deployment in under 6 years. So is the whole project unrealistic? and what would be the risks involved in falcon loosing the market share for satellite deployment for other operators?
closed as primarily opinion-based by JCRM, Mark Omo, Nathan Tuggy, Ingolifs, Jan Doggen Nov 18 '18 at 11:09
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It seems possible, but unlikely. Going by your number of 52 launches/year, there isn't a big difference between doing 52 launches or e.g. 64 launches (52 for Starlink and 12 for customers).
The big hurdle is getting from the 18 launches they're doing now to the 50+ they need for Starlink, and if they need to scale up anyway, building some extra capacity to keep serving the commercial market doesn't seem a major problem.