SpaceX has effectively created the private space industry, quickly taking over the majority of the commercial launch contract market and breaking monopolies held by ULA. Here are the reasons why SpaceX will dominate the private space industry, soon becoming a multi-trillion company.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite constellation is sure to become an industry disrupter in broadband internet. The satellite constellation runs on SpaceX’s proprietary connection switching technology, allowing satellites to quickly route a connection via another satellite as the distance between satellites chance with varying orbit. This technology allows for reduced “ping” and provide lower costs than traditional cable broadband. It has also been suggested in the past that if not SpaceX, there is a good chance that the Starlink business could be spun off into a separate IPO. This will benefit investors that come in before Starlink splits from SpaceX.
SpaceX’s Rideshare Program allows for companies to launch their payloads for as less as $1 million by sharing the ride with other companies, similar to Uber’s ridesharing. Since the program’s launch, there has been tremendous success and demand for rideshare spots. As SpaceX drives down the cost of launch, more universities and smaller countries can easily launch their satellites and astronomically low costs.
SpaceX will continue to get defense, military, and commercial contracts as its primary source of income (which is already a growing sector, as the past history detailed above shows).
SpaceX’s partnership with Space Adventures will soon see high net worth individuals purchasing tickets for hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few days in space. SpaceX has already proven that it can safely launch and land astronauts in May 2020, leaving no risk for space tourism not to happen.
NASA’s increasing focus on the Artemis Program (bringing back astronauts to the Moon) will see SpaceX continue to receive supply contracts to the International Space Station and soon-to-be constructed Lunar Gateway space station. SpaceX is also one of three companies bidding for designing, developing, and operating a landing system for the Moon. This contract is estimated to be worth billions of dollars, with SpaceX in the lead to win the contract with its Starship + Superheavy system. The other two companies in the bid have not even begun development and testing in the way SpaceX has.
Future of Interplanetary Human Spaceflight
SpaceX aims to put the Starship spacecraft on the surface of Mars by 2023-2025. Fully stacked Starships are already expected to complete test flights late next year. If SpaceX successfully demonstrates a reusable launch system, interplanetary human spaceflight will not be far off. We could see humans establishing bases on Mars and begin deep space missions by 2050.
Human deep-space flight is a necessity as the resources of Earth slowly diminish, making it difficult to sustain with resources on our planet. Earth is riddled with uneconomic materials, while asteroids are almost pure metal – high-value metals.
For example, NASA has estimated that one such near-Earth asteroid holds more platinum than ever mined in human history. This is also why the value of asteroids are measured in $ quintillions ($1 quintillion = $1,000,000,000 billion), making the global raw metal industry ($660 billion a year) look insignificant.
If SpaceX can reach Mars, it can easily establish the Red Planet as a base of operations to mine the asteroid belt (VERY close to Mars). NASA estimates $700 quintillion worth of resources, with the most valuable asteroids already identified.
Though it may seem unrealistic that SpaceX could pull off mining asteroids in the next 30 years, it is definite that at least a base of operations will be established on Mars. 5 years ago, it was thought to be impossible to land and reuse a rocket. SpaceX has now launched astronauts and is quickly developing its next-generation rocket system that will have the capability to land and relaunch from these near-Earth asteroids.
We are on the edge of the privatization of space, with Wall Street analysts expecting the “space economy” to top $1 trillion within the next 20 years. SpaceX has effectively kickstarted this movement, revolutionizing cost, and reusability to factors previously thought impossible. It has also done all of this while increasing production, safety, revenue, and introducing new commercial applications like Starlink – all while keeping the goal of reaching Mars intact since 2002.
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