CNBC reported that SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk stated the business will likely not take its Starlink branch public for another three to four years, citing a presentation given to SpaceX employees at an "all hands" meeting last week.
According to an audio recording of the discussion obtained by CNBC, Musk stated that Starlink must be "in a smooth-sailing situation" with "good predictability."
"I think spinning it off as a public company can make a lot of sense," he added.
Any such move would be significant for investors and SpaceX, which is still a privately held company. (Tesla, Musk's other major company, went public in 2010.)
The IPO of Starlink has previously been estimated to be three to four years away; Musk made a similar estimate in an email to SpaceX staff in 2019, before stepping away from that schedule in a 2021 tweet, according to CNBC.
SpaceX believes Starlink as critical to its long-term objectives. For example, Musk has stated that cash from the satellite internet network will be used to help SpaceX create Starship, the massive vehicle that will allow humans to colonize Mars and perform a number of other ambitious exploratory feats.
The reliance is mutual, as Starship is critical to Starlink's development. The next-generation Starlink satellite will be far larger than the current model - so large, according to Musk, that Starship will be the only vehicle capable of launching batches of them into orbit.
To date, SpaceX has launched over 2,600 Starlink satellites, and the network serves over 400,000 members worldwide. However, if all goes as planned, Starlink will grow much larger; the next-generation constellation might include up to 30,000 satellites.
However, NASA and other large corporations have expressed reservations about SpaceX's proposal to deploy over 30,000 satellites for its Starlink service.
"NASA has concerns with the potential for a significant increase in the frequency of conjunction events and possible impacts to NASA's science and human spaceflight missions," the agency wrote the Federal Communications Commission.
NASA noted there are currently 25,000 total objects tracked on-orbit - and about 6,100 below 600 km. SpaceX's Gen2 expansion "would more than double the number of tracked objects in orbit and increase the number of objects below 600 km over five-fold," it added.
While satellite technology is highly expensive to deploy, it can give high-speed internet to people who live in remote or hard-to-reach areas where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach. When hurricanes or other natural disasters impede communication, the technology might be a lifesaver.