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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.

 

There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.

 

You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:

 

1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.

 

2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.
 

3. A Paypal Donation:

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5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
 
Behind The Black
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SpaceX initiates new round to obtain from $500 to $750 million in additional private investment capital

SpaceX has opened another tender round to obtain from $500 to $750 million in additional private investment capital, with the company now valued at $175 billion, up from the previous valuation of $150 billion.

With this new capital, the company will have raised at a minimum around $12 billion from private sources, not including the undisclosed investment in October from Italy’s biggest bank.

Why are private investors willing to do commit so much cash to this company? This quote from the article says it all:

SpaceX is on track to book revenues of about $9 billion this year across its rocket launch and Starlink businesses, Bloomberg News reported last month, with sales projected to rise to around $15 billion in 2024. The company is also discussing an initial public offering for Starlink as soon as late 2024 — a bid to capitalize on robust demand for communications via space.

In other words, SpaceX is already earning enough to pay for the development of Starlink/Starship/Superheavy, with even bigger profits expected because it has such a lead on its competitors in the satellite broadband business.

These investors realize that SpaceX has captured the majority of this market share, and because of this it will be difficult for late arrivals like Amazon to enter the market. Amazon could charge less to gain market share, but SpaceX could then do the same. And SpaceX will already be in the black when it does so, while Amazon will instead be increasing its red ink.

This situation underlines the wisdom of Musk’s decision in 2018 to shake-up the management in SpaceX’s Starlink division because the management then was setting too slow a pace. As I wrote then:

Musk’s desire for speed here actually makes very good economic sense. There are other companies developing similar internet satellite constellations, and if SpaceX’s launches late they will likely lose a significant market share.

His concern about the slow pace seems to me also justified. This technology, while cutting edge, shouldn’t require as much testing and prototype work as it appears the fired managers wanted. Better to get something working and launched and making money, introducing upgrades as you go, as SpaceX has done so successfully with its Falcon 9 rocket.

Time has now proven Musk right.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

3 comments

  • Dick Eagleson

    Musk certainly was correct to conduct a wholesale management transplant at Starlink a few years ago. The proof of this correctness is that nearly that entire dismissed management cadre promptly went to work for Jeff Bezos at Kuiper. That was the last prompt thing they have done since.

    As with so many previous tenders, this latest one seems certain to be quickly oversubscribed. The SpaceX juggernaut moves relentlessly forward, gathering speed as it goes.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Musk is the real life founder of IPC.

    The Inter-Planetary Corporation (IPC) is a fictional organization that appears in several of E. E. Smith’s science fiction novels, including Spacehounds of IPC1. The IPC is a commercial enterprise that operates a fleet of spaceships and is responsible for the exploration and colonization of the solar system. The organization is headquartered on Earth and has a monopoly on space travel1.

  • Jeff Wright

    PENTHOUSE propped up OMNI like wrestling mags propped up Starlog…but for so long

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