The new Netflix documentary, Return to Space, tells the story of how a SpaceX Dragon capsule delivered two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in 2020. It was a first for a commercial spacecraft. The publicity surrounding the documentary begs the question, is SpaceX profitable?
Whether billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, commonly known as SpaceX, is a profitable company is a little hard to pinpoint because it's still a private company. The SEC requires publicly traded companies to publish their quarterly finances, but the same doesn’t hold true for private companies.
SpaceX's valuation is estimated at $100 billion.
In October 2021, CNBC reported that SpaceX hit a valuation of $100 billion, which made it the second most valuable private company in the world, second only to China’s Bytedance. The increase in valuation came after existing investors sold about $755 million in SpaceX stock at $560 per share, CNBC reported. The share price was a 33 percent increase over what it was in February 2021, when the company was valued at $74 billion.
Starlink’s earnings could be as high as $300 million.
The two main facets of SpaceX are the spacecraft it manufactures and launches and Starlink, a satellite internet provider. In February, Musk implied on Twitter that Starlink has more than 250,000 user terminals in operation. If that’s true, SpaceX could be earning $25 million per month, or $300 million a year, from the high-speed internet service, Forbes reports.
According to Forbes, there are about 2,000 Starlink satellites in orbit and users of the service are charged about $100 per month. The company recently unveiled a "premium" service that would cost $500 per month.
“Starlink Premium has more than double the antenna capability of Starlink, delivering faster internet speeds and higher throughput for the highest demand users, including businesses,” the SpaceX website states.
SpaceX entered into an agreement with Momentus.
On the space exploration side of the business, SpaceX recently entered into multiple launch agreements with the Momentus. The commercial space company has reserved slots on four upcoming SpaceX Transporter missions for Momentus’ orbital transfer vehicles. The vehicle already has a spot on the SpaceX Transporter-5 mission set to launch in June.
"Our agreements with SpaceX establish a regular launch cadence for Momentus as we bring our initial services to market," said Momentus CEO John Rood in a statement. "We'll use these flight opportunities to demonstrate the capabilities of our Vigoride orbital transfer vehicle, deliver customers to orbit, and continue the development of new technologies to expand our service offerings at lower costs."
Will SpaceX go public?
Musk has said the company’s long-term goals aren’t in line with the short-term demands of the public stock market. In a 2018 interview with CNBC, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell says that the company “can’t go public until we’re flying regularly to Mars.”