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Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Elon Musk has built two behemoths:


and SpaceX. Moves by either company can create big waves. Thursday, a tweet from Musk roiled a portion of the wireless communications sector.

Musk tweeted out that Starlink was in contact with airlines about offering high-speed internet service. That means more competition for existing players offering in-flight internet service, and their share prices were immediately hit.


(ticker: GOGO) stock closed down about 2.2%.


(VSAT) shares fell about 1.7% even as broader markets rose.

Starlink is the constellation of low-earth-orbit satellites SpaceX is building to provide space-based internet access to anywhere on the globe. The service is already live with more than 100,000 users.

The SpaceX constellation is functional. Almost 1,800 small satellites have been launched. Eventually, SpaceX plans to launch tens of thousands of Starlink satellites.

A growing internet business is one reason that SpaceX is valued at about $100 billion in private markets. That’s up from a March valuation of about $74 billion and it catapults SpaceX into the No. 4 slot on a list of world’s most valuable aerospace and defense franchises.



Raytheon Technologies

(RTX) and

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) are still bigger.


(AIR.France) is now fifth.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote this past year that the Starlink business could be worth anywhere from $40 billion to $130 billion. When he wrote that when there were about 600 to 700 satellites in space and a lot was still unknown about product pricing and costs to run the network. A lot still isn’t know. SpaceX doesn’t disclose financials.

Back then, Jonas estimated SpaceX might be able to get 200 million to 300 million subscribers to pay $50 a month. That’s sales of about $150 billion a year. That’s far down the road and theoretical. SpaceX, based on Thursday’s tweet, can also go after corporate business.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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