Author Topic: Was it a mistake for SpaceX not to partner with Greg Wyler and/or OneWeb?  (Read 4944 times)

Online Tywin

In the big wars, every generals know, that if you has two fronts opens, normally is a big mistake, and you can lost...Well SpaceX (Elon) right now, they have two fronts opens, one the Starlink mega constellation, in the other the BFR...each project, with a possible estimate cost, of 10 billion dolars...


Was no better idea, allies with Greg, in Oneweb (and all the other big companies that finance this project, Qualcomm, Softbank, Ko, etc) and take the risk together?

Both constellation are very expensive projects, and isn't sure any survive to all the challenge they have...Even is they do...they have to compete with all the old operators in the space comunications industry...and if they survive to that, have to compete each other, reducing the potencially earns...

Was Oneweb-SpaceX a mistake o a great idea go split both?

Edit/Lar: Fix subject line. I do wish people would ask for help in composing these.
« Last Edit: 01/18/2019 05:00 pm by Lar »
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Offline Lars-J

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This seems like a question that should be asked in 5-10 years.

Offline gongora

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They had very different ideas for the constellation architecture.  Wyler had a lot of satellite experience and wanted to go with the simplest, cheapest, fastest viable architecture to get the constellation started.  Elon (with no satellite experience) wanted a very ambitious design (that of course ended up being harder and more time consuming to build than he initially intended, and the initial SpaceX satellites will only end up having a subset of the functionality they want.)

Offline Ludus

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Elon just doesn’t have much use for safe moderately ambitious projects. Starlink is radically more ambitious than OneWeb. If it succeeds, it will make SpaceX one of the most valuable companies in the world and effectively pay for Mars.

It takes full advantage of SpaceX’s lead in rapidly reusable boosters as well as commercially justifying Starship. OneWeb at its most successful wouldn’t solve the problems Elon wants to solve. Without Starlink he’d have no commercial justification for Starship and no way of scaling SpaceX revenue to where it needs to be for Mars.

If Starlink fails, a crippled version of it might still function as well or better than One Web as a consolation prize.

Offline RonM

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Elon thinks Starlink will be better and if he's right that could be a lot of profit. If it doesn't work there are various options to cut losses. The potential gains are huge, so it's worth the risk.

Could end up like satellite radio. Sirius and XM were competitors and neither we're making a profit. After a merger they needed investment to continue, but since then the combined Sirius XM has been profitable.

I believe stating Starlink and BFR are a two front war is incorrect. Elon's main economic objective is funding BFR and getting to Mars. Everything else, including Starlink, is trying to get the funding needed for BFR.

If you have the resources, fighting multiple fronts can be done. In WWII, the Allies fought on three fronts in Europe while they fought across the Pacific. Big corporations, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have many divisions operating in various industries.

Offline Robotbeat

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It was a mistake for Greg to part with SpaceX, yes.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline RedLineTrain

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Two different styles.  Wyler put together a coalition of different companies (satellite manufacture, launch, marketing), each having a piece of the pie.  It was less important for him that he control the technology.  Musk wants to have a vertically integrated satellite and launch company.  It is vitally important for him to control the technology, even down to the main communication chip.

If they had joined together, I'm sure they would have split apart pretty quickly.

One caveat for Musk:  It is unclear to me how much control he will have over the technology in the ground terminal.
« Last Edit: 01/12/2019 07:57 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline AC in NC

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Elon is swinging for the fences.  Whether he should have partnered was probably secondary to that.

Starlink is an example as is his Tesla pay package IMO. 

Offline Roy_H

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Two fronts? Let's see.
SpaceX: Starship, Starlink
Tesla: Three new products in pipeline, Model Y, Semi, Roadster, autonomous driving program.
Those are new product development but there are other ongoing and established businesses as well.
SpaceX commercial launch and crew program.
Tesla cars, batteries for grid stabilization, solar commercial (economical large panels), solar fancy roof tiles.
The Boring Company, both making tunnels and the vehicles to go in them.
Neuralink
"If we don't achieve re-usability, I will consider SpaceX to be a failure." - Elon Musk

Offline ZachF

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It was a mistake for Greg to part with SpaceX, yes.

I have to agree with this. I don't think the business case for gigantic constellations is possible without reusable rockets.

One Web will be spending $2-2.5 million to lift up every one of it's smaller and less capable satellites. SpaceX will likely be around $1m per satellite because it will be paying marginal cost with zero markups.
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Offline TrevorMonty

It was a mistake for Greg to part with SpaceX, yes.

I have to agree with this. I don't think the business case for gigantic constellations is possible without reusable rockets.

One Web will be spending $2-2.5 million to lift up every one of it's smaller and less capable satellites. SpaceX will likely be around $1m per satellite because it will be paying marginal cost with zero markups.
Unfortunately for Oneweb, Blue NG will be about a 1-2years too late for them. Would've saved them a fortune if they could've used it for most of constellation launches.

Offline su27k

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Also need to consider this: Without Starlink, SpaceX's valuation wouldn't be as high as $30B, lower valuation would make it more difficult for them to raise funding for BFR.

Online ncb1397

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It was a mistake for Greg to part with SpaceX, yes.

I have to agree with this. I don't think the business case for gigantic constellations is possible without reusable rockets.

One Web will be spending $2-2.5 million to lift up every one of it's smaller and less capable satellites. SpaceX will likely be around $1m per satellite because it will be paying marginal cost with zero markups.
Unfortunately for Oneweb, Blue NG will be about a 1-2years too late for them. Would've saved them a fortune if they could've used it for most of constellation launches.

They aren't going to undercut their competition by much. They have a billion dollar per year hole to fill.

Offline Robotbeat

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Also need to consider this: Without Starlink, SpaceX's valuation wouldn't be as high as $30B, lower valuation would make it more difficult for them to raise funding for BFR.
Yes, the two are linked (heh).
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline EnigmaSCADA

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I'll believe in one or both constellations when I actually see a full operational set whizzing around in orbit. So many topics are nothing more than how many angels dancing on a pin... Getting old, like Missouri, SHOW ME, then we can all have a lively discussion about something real.

Offline Robotbeat

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I'll believe in one or both constellations when I actually see a full operational set whizzing around in orbit. So many topics are nothing more than how many angels dancing on a pin... Getting old, like Missouri, SHOW ME, then we can all have a lively discussion about something real.
Both Iridium and Globalstar have both been not just launched but totally refreshed/updated as well.  These megaconstellations are larger, but so are all the markets to be served, our capabilities, and our companies.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline AC in NC

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I'll believe in one or both constellations when I actually see a full operational set whizzing around in orbit. So many topics are nothing more than how many angels dancing on a pin... Getting old, like Missouri, SHOW ME, then we can all have a lively discussion about something real.

For my part, I can think of few things more boring than talking about something that's already been done.  Dang, that AT&T 4GLTE Network is really humming.  Woot!!!   ;)

Offline EnigmaSCADA

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I'll believe in one or both constellations when I actually see a full operational set whizzing around in orbit. So many topics are nothing more than how many angels dancing on a pin... Getting old, like Missouri, SHOW ME, then we can all have a lively discussion about something real.

For my part, I can think of few things more boring than talking about something that's already been done.  Dang, that AT&T 4GLTE Network is really humming.  Woot!!!   ;)
I like your attitude, and your comment is fair enough, I get your point, just I never suggested we should discuss that. I agree with you, that particularly, is boring (there's this funny spot about 0.25mi from my house that drops to HSPA though, really weird, surrounded by LTE).

Offline EnigmaSCADA

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I'll believe in one or both constellations when I actually see a full operational set whizzing around in orbit. So many topics are nothing more than how many angels dancing on a pin... Getting old, like Missouri, SHOW ME, then we can all have a lively discussion about something real.
Both Iridium and Globalstar have both been not just launched but totally refreshed/updated as well.  These megaconstellations are larger, but so are all the markets to be served, our capabilities, and our companies.
Clearly I was referring to constellations on the level (planning stage only of course) of OneWeb & StarLink.

Offline Robotbeat

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I'll believe in one or both constellations when I actually see a full operational set whizzing around in orbit. So many topics are nothing more than how many angels dancing on a pin... Getting old, like Missouri, SHOW ME, then we can all have a lively discussion about something real.
Both Iridium and Globalstar have both been not just launched but totally refreshed/updated as well.  These megaconstellations are larger, but so are all the markets to be served, our capabilities, and our companies.
Clearly I was referring to constellations on the level (planning stage only of course) of OneWeb & StarLink.
I understood what you said.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

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