SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) has become one of the most notable players in today’s NewSpace industry. Founded in 2002 and catapulted to success at the helm of CEO Elon Musk, the behemoth provides both aerospace manufacturing and space transportation services with the goal of creating more affordable space transport that allow humans to colonize Mars.
In October 2020, Morgan Stanley valued the company at $100 billion, double what investors had estimated its worth in August of the same year. SpaceX’s contracts with NASA and other partners have also allowed it to thrive. So, what makes the enterprising company so valuable?
In its nearly two decade history, SpaceX has revolutionized its presence in space with its long list of accomplishments. Among them, the company launched the first fueled liquid-propellant rocket that reached orbit, the first reuse of an orbital rocket, the first company to launch an object into orbit around the Sun and the first private company to send astronauts to the International Space Station.
Altogether, SpaceX has launched 20 cargo resupply missions to the ISS with their partnership with NASA and completed an uncrewed demonstration flight with their Dragon 2 spacecraft. In May 2020, the first crewed Dragon flight was successfully launched. Elon Musk has made revolutionary steps to reuse orbital-class launch vehicles and reduce obsorbient expenses within the space launch field, demonstrated by his continual landings and relaunches of Falcon 9.
The Starship Project
While Falcon 9 and the Dragon space capsule are two of SpaceX’s most famous projects, Musk has said that he’ll replace them with Starship, a privately funded launch system to develop spaceflight tech. With the third launch of the Starlink project, SpaceX became the largest commercial satellite constellation operator in the world. Considered one of Musk’s crowning achievements to date in his work with SpaceX, Starship will handle interplanetary missions and become the main orbit vehicle after the early 2020s. The vehicle is expected to be fully reusable and when it’s ready will be the largest rock schedule for launch in the early 2020s. With this crowning achievement, eventually we will be prepared to flyby the Moon and perhaps one day land there, too.
With Musk’s ability to help make spaceflight more affordable, SpaceX is one step closer to fostering a more productive NewSpace market and democratizing space exploration in the long-term.