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SpaceX raises another $250 million in investment capital

Capitalism in space: SpaceX in July raised $250 million in investment capital from five unnamed investors, bringing the total raised in 2022 to $2 billion.

Added to the amount brought in before this year, SpaceX has raised about $9 billion in private capital, most of which is focused on financing the development of Starship/Superheavy. When you add the $2.9 billion contract it won from NASA to develop Starship as a manned lunar lander, the company has raised about $12 billion to build this heavy lift rocket.

The numbers demonstrate several things. First, Wall Street is apparently very confident SpaceX will succeed in building the rocket, and then make a lot of money from it. Second, the numbers prove it shouldn’t cost $60 billion and two decades to design and build a heavy lift rocket, as NASA has done with its SLS rocket. SpaceX is doing it for less than a fifth of the cost, in a third of the time.

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


  • Richard M

    Second, the numbers prove it shouldn’t cost $60 billion and two decades to design and build a heavy lift rocket, as NASA has done with its SLS rocket. SpaceX is doing it for less than a fifth of the cost, in a third of the time.

    Not to mention the fact that SpaceX’s rocket is far more ambitious: refuelable, completely and rapidly reusable, and able to deliver much more payload directly to any destination.

    It’s a late 21st century rocket. SLS is a late 20th century rocket.

  • V-Man

    Starship vs. SLS — you’re comparing apples to oranges. One is a reusable heavy lift vehicle, the other is a pan-american job program.

    The fact that the latter may produce a heavy lift rocket is a pure coincidence and not actually relevant to the success of the SLS program.

  • V-Man: You know this. I know this. The politicians know this. NASA management knows this.

    The public does not. The politicians and NASA’s management have endlessly sold SLS as a rocket designed to take American to the Moon and beyond. That has always been a lie, but in order to prove it, it is necessary to show how bad a rocket is.

    SpaceX is helping us do that.

  • Edward

    Robert commented: “That has always been a lie, but in order to prove it, it is necessary to show how bad a rocket is.

    A bad rocket is what we should expect when Congress pretends to be rocket scientists and designs the rocket without a purpose in mind. Requirements that they didn’t include, but SpaceX did, were: high launch cadence for frequent access to space, low cost of operations, be useful to enough customers to make it profitable, and start operations sooner rather than later.

    Instead Congress’s requirements for SLS were as V-Man stated: Kluge together existing parts designed for a completely different purpose, put more mass into orbit than the parts were designed to handle, and keep existing jobs going forever. So far, that mission has been accomplished (mission success). Too bad it is not a useful mission. Well … it may be useful to Congress and government, but it is not useful to We the People, who pay the bills. And pay. And pay. And …

  • GaryMike

    I was born before Sputnik.

    Iterative evolution.

    Failure is important to the process.

    Wow! Nice blast pattern.

  • Jeff Wright


    SLS is a conservative design and has had all kinds of enemies compared to many other projects. It did not need to cost $60 billion—that’s not the rocket’s fault.

    At any rate…a man-rated craft will reach the Moon before China one way or the other.

  • Edward

    I wrote: “[Congress’s purpose for SLS:] keep existing jobs going forever.

    With this in mind, thinking on the Space Shuttle project, this past day, it now seems to me that Congress essentially had the same purpose for the Shuttle. That Congress treats NASA as a WPA program rather than a way for America to maintain worldwide technical excellence or even technical dominance. NASA has talented, skilled, and knowledgeable people, but Congress generally holds them back from being all that they can be.

    Congress made SLS a kluge of existing parts, but the Space Shuttle was a political kluge, put together not for the purpose of advancing American technical know-how and advantage but put together as a means of putting Air Force payloads into space with a machine that could also get astronauts to those payloads for maintenance and for return of those payloads to Earth.

    When the Shuttle turned into a failure for these objectives, Congress was not interested in a new design to fulfill the failed objectives, but now I see that Congress treated the Shuttle as a WPA program. Just as WPA built rose gardens around the country, Congress does not care that NASA is being put to use for similarly useless projects. When the Shuttle was ended, Congress was not interested in an improved version but was satisfied to use the existing parts for a new rocket that regressed to methods that worked in the 1960s, an Apollo-like rocket with Apollo-like missions but no goal to achieve.

    Presidents had varying goals for this new SLS WPA project, such as return to the Moon, explore an asteroid, and make a sustainable moon base. These are desirable goals, but they are not practical goals, at least not with the rocket that Congress designed. Even astroid scientists were not excited to send anyone to an asteroid using SLS, as they realized that the cost would limit the funds for robotic missions. At this time, robotic missions to asteroids are teaching us plenty of what we need to learn about these objects, and we are not yet ready to get value for our money by sending humans to the asteroids.

    The execution of the SLS project was a disaster. Existing parts did not make it cheaper and faster to make a new rocket, and the rocket is not cheaper or faster to build and operate. It is as expensive as Apollo was, so a return to the Moon with a sustainable moon base is not feasible, not with SLS. With SLS only able to launch annually, a decade from now, either a moon base will have to be unmanned for part or most of the time, or crews of four will have to stay for a year or longer.

    NASA may be thinking that SLS could finally begin the Apollo Applications Program that they thought they may be able to do, half a century ago with Apollo hardware, but SLS is not capable of doing this as successfully as Apollo could have done.

    Instead, NASA has been Congress’s jobs program rather than technical program. No wonder we haven’t been getting earth-shattering discoveries or inventions from the Shuttle or ISS.

    This is where commercial space and SpaceX come in. Commercial space, by necessity, must be able to make money in order to stay in business; NASA does not and really cannot make money. Thus NASA has no incentive to perform the most useful functions in space and has no incentive to be efficient, and Congress lacks the same incentives. Commercial space will do best by performing the functions that are the most useful and profitable, and profitability comes from improved efficiency. We will finally get the things that we have been hoping for since von Braun and Disney started getting us excited about space, back in the 1950s. How sad it is that Disneyland’s sixty-year-old Mission to Mars show is still a dream of a future to be realized rather than having been made obsolete because it was accomplished long ago.

    After Apollo, we expected great things from NASA, but we never got them, because Congress held back the talented, skilled, and knowledgeable people there. There is very little holding back the commercial space companies, and what little that there is, is our own government (e.g. the FAA, FCC, NOAA, etc.). This is why so many investors are so eager to put so much of their money into Starship. This is why SpaceX is worth so many times more than the assets it owns. This is why so many other commercial companies are finding their own investors and why so many commercial companies are being started and funded. Even Joe, one of the commenters here on BTB, has a space startup company. Space is still hard, on top of the existing difficulties of starting and running a company, but the opportunities and potential rewards abound.

    Commercial space is not a WPA jobs program, it is a thriving industry with great potential for much, much more to come. It shows the benefits of free market capitalism over top-down, centralized government control. Apollo was accomplished through this kind of government control, but it did not amount to as much as it could have, because it didn’t produce anything as sustainable as free market capitalism must do and is doing.

    Jeff Wright wrote: “SLS is a conservative design and has had all kinds of enemies compared to many other projects. It did not need to cost $60 billion—that’s not the rocket’s fault.

    As a rocket, it is OK. It should be able to do the job of taking large masses into orbit. As a space launch system, it leaves very much to be desired. The system was not designed for high cadence use, which is needed for a sustainable moon base, or for exploration of the solar system, and especially for both. It was not designed to be low cost, which is needed for a sustainable moon base. It was not designed with any specific use in mind, just designed to take a lot of mass to orbit, which explains why it fails in virtually every other desirable attribute.

    Was it the rocket’s fault? No. It was not conceived or designed properly. It is just like it not being Frankenstein’s monster’s fault for wanting a mate; Dr. Frankenstein did not think through the whole system when he brought life to his creature. It is even worse, if you read the book, because he didn’t think through what he would do once his monster woke up (the good doctor panicked at what he had done and fled the building). Without the doctor to guide it, the monster had no compass for life. It wasn’t the monster’s fault, and it isn’t the rocket’s fault nor was it NASA’s fault that Congress had no compass for SLS. At least Constellation was designed with a goal in mind, but once that was cancelled, NASA was set adrift.

  • Jeff Wright observed: “At any rate…a man-rated craft will reach the Moon before China one way or the other.”

    Uh, that’s been done.

  • Col Beausabre

    “that’s not the rocket’s fault” Which begs the question as to whose fault it is

  • Star Bird

    I would like to see all Liberal Democrats sent into deep space

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