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Is SpaceX Profitable?

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Return to Space, a brand-new Netflix documentary, chronicles the tale of how two NASA astronauts were sent to the International Space Station in 2020 by a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. For a commercial spacecraft, it was a first. The documentary’s media coverage raises the question of whether SpaceX is profitable.

Because it’s still a private corporation, it’s a little challenging to say whether billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, also known as SpaceX, is a lucrative business. The SEC mandates publicly traded corporations release their quarterly financial information, while private businesses are exempt from this requirement.

Valuation of SpaceX

A $100 billion valuation has been assigned to SpaceX

CNBC

According to CNBC, SpaceX reached $100 billion in October 2021, making it the world’s second most valuable private business, behind only China’s Bytedance. According to CNBC, the boost in valuation followed the sale by current investors of around $755 million worth of SpaceX shares at $560 per share. The stock price has increased 33 per cent since the company’s valuation of $74 billion in February 2021.

Will SpaceX float its stock?

It seems unlikely that SpaceX will go public anytime soon. SpaceX and one of Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPACs were supposed to join earlier this year, but nothing came of those speculations.

According to Musk, the company’s long-term objectives don’t align with the short-term requirements of the stock market. Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, stated that the business “can’t go public until we’re flying routinely to Mars” in an interview with CNBC in 2018.

Profitability of SpaceX

Starlink Kit. Img Src: Starlink

The two primary divisions of SpaceX are

  • Starlink, a satellite internet service provider, and
  • The spacecraft the company builds and launches.

Musk suggested on Twitter in February that Starlink operates more than 250,000 user terminals. If that is the case, SpaceX may be making $300 million a year from the high-speed internet service, according to Forbes.

There are over 2,000 Starlink satellites in space, and monthly fees for using the service average $100, according to Forbes. Recently, the business introduced a $500 monthly “premium” service.

For the highest demand users, including businesses, “Starlink Premium has more than double the antenna capabilities of Starlink, delivering quicker internet speeds and better throughput,” according to the SpaceX website.

Momentus and SpaceX came to an arrangement.

Recently, SpaceX and Momentus got into several launch contracts related to space exploration. The commercial space business has reserved spots on four planned SpaceX Transporter flights for Momentus’ orbital transfer vehicles. The vehicle is already scheduled to launch on the SpaceX Transporter-5 mission in June.

Momentus CEO John Rood stated, “our agreements with SpaceX establish a regular launch cadence for Momentus as we bring our initial services to market.” We’ll take advantage of these flight opportunities to show off the capabilities of our Vigoride orbital transfer vehicle, get customers into orbit, and keep working on cutting-edge technology to increase the scope of our service offerings while lowering prices.

It doesn’t seem like there is much room for doubt that SpaceX is geared to be a profitable company. It is making money now, but the actual cost of operation, R&D etc., needs to be considered to judge if there is a profit or the company is in investment and development mode.

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