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Are SpaceX's Starlink satellites insured?

Are SpaceX's Starlink satellites insured?

Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX successfully deployed 48 new Starlink satellites into orbit on 9 Mar 2022.

Starlink is a giant constellation of broadband satellites that SpaceX is assembling in low earth orbit for providing internet access to most of the world.

Although SpaceX’s mission to provide high speed broadband internet to remote locations has been commended by many, it has not been free from controversy.

As over 6000 satellites are currently orbiting Earth, many astronomers have pointed out the increasing chances of collision with an aircraft or another satellite. If such a collision were to occur, the loss would be astronomical!

And this is where a highly specialised insurance policy called Satellite Insurance becomes useful. Satellite Insurance provides coverage for two types of risks -

  • Satellite risk - this includes third party liability coverage, loss or damage to satellite during pre-launch, actual launch, and while in orbit
  • Ground risk - this includes coverage for replacing computer systems, software backup, and other expenses arising out of unexpected accidents at the ground level

This insurance primarily covers replacing or relaunching a failed satellite, along with any liability for damage to third parties caused by the satellite or the launch rocket.

Although it is not clear if SpaceX has its Starlink satellites insured, it has already launched 2000 of these since 2019 and thousands more are set to go up in the near future.

Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos went to space without insurance