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SpaceX: 2.7m customers and $180bn value

April 9, 2024

SpaceX says it now has 2.7 million “customers – a rise of 100,000 in just three weeks. This is a growth rate of some 4,700 new users per day. If this rate is maintained, then another 1 million users by year-end is possible if not probable.

A report from analysts at investment bank Morgan Stanley put a private market valuation on SpaceX of a $180 billion (€165.7bn), and attributed 60 per cent of that value on total revenues which implies that Starlink alone is valued at about $108 billion.

The news emerged along with the latest information from Elon Musk about his plans for a human colony on Mars, his latest details on Flight #4 for his giant Starship rocket now in final pre-flight testing at its Boca Chica ‘Starbase’ launch complex.

Musk recently held an ‘all hands’ Town Hall meeting at Boca Chica, and released video footage of the event on April 6th.

SpaceX commentators spent the weekend reminding doomsayers that it is unwise to suggest that Musk is wrong with his predictions. Musk admitted that he was told years ago that reusability of rockets was an impossibility, and even if the feat was managed there would be no point. “Nobody would want to fly rockets that much.”

He added that once Starship was flying it would be capable of going anywhere in the Solar System.

SpaceX’s current situation is that it has made 329 launches, 293 successful landings on a mix of hard concrete pads or more frequently on one of his fleet of drone ships, and 262 successful re-flights of his Falcon 9 boosters.

“Give us another couple of weeks and we will have managed 300 landings,” Musk told staff. He added that Flight #4 of Starship will happen in a month or so. He hoped that by Flight #5 the rocket’s booster would land back at Boca Chica using the special giant arms (‘Mechazilla’) that would catch it just a few metres from the ground. There are already four pairs (booster+Starship) ready at Boca Chica and he expected to build “roughly six” more this year. A second launch site capable of handling Starships is being built at Cape Canaveral with an operational target of use by mid-2025.

His aim, he told staff, would be – with reusability – that the cost per Starship launch would fall to $2 million-$3 million. “Starship 3 will cost less per flight than Falcon 1.”

Meanwhile, analysts at Bryce Tech say that as Starship gears up for its orbital flights that will eventually prove to be successful. “There’s not money and patience for unlimited tests. But for a vehicle that is so different and so big, two, three, four, five tests is not excessive,” stated BryceTech’s CEO Carissa Christensen on its development. Musk has previously estimated the total development cost of the Starship project to be between $2 billion and $10 billion.

SpaceX launched its second batch of ‘Direct-to-Cell’ satellites on April from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base. The first batch of D2C satellites, launched in January have already been tested for Text, phone and social media postings. “The Falcon and Starlink teams are working hard to get the first direct-to-cell constellation up by the end of August,” stated SpaceX VP/Falcon Launch Vehicles, Jon Edwards.

Musk was far from finished and added that if things went according to plan for SpaceX his company would deliver 90 per cent of the planet’s rockets launch mass into orbit. “China will deliver 6 per cent, and the rest of the world will do 4 per cent”.

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