SpaceX is reportedly spending between $800-$900 million a year, and is charging about $62 million (€56.3m) per launch – meaning it needs to launch about 14 times a year to begin to make profit.
SpaceX has plenty of launches lines up – a contracted backlog of some $10 billion-worth, representing 70 missions and spread between tasks for NASA and commercial satellite operators.
Now, SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the rate of launch is to grow, and by Q4 this year he says they’ll be launching at a rate of a rocket every 2-3 weeks.
SpaceX’s president Gwynne Shotwell, in an interview with ‘Fortune’ magazine, says that the plan is to launch 18 rockets this year (with some of the launches carrying two satellites). The target is one thing, but the company only managed 6 launches last year.
It also has to pre-agree engine test levels with the city of McGregor, Texas, close to its giant 4300 acre test facility and where noise limits mean that rockets being tested must not breach 115 decibels. Breach that limit and it’s a fine of $7500.