Capitalism in space: SpaceX is now in the process of raising another billion dollars in private investment capital in order to fund both its Starlink and Starship projects.
Space Exploration Technologies, Elon Musk’s reusable rocket venture, is in talks to raise $1 billion in series N funding at a valuation of $44 billion, according to documents reviewed by CNBC. SpaceX plans to use the funding to make its Starlink satellite broadband service operational, and to conduct suborbital and orbital test flights of its Starship and SuperHeavy booster launch vehicle.
Up to now SpaceX has raised just under $2 billion in private capital, which they had said was devoted solely to developing Starship. The company had also said that it was developing Starlink with in-house funds. It appears that — having gotten almost 400 satellites in orbit (with many more coming) — they are now willing to seek outside help to make the Starlink system operational, because this situation allows SpaceX to negotiate the best deal with any investor.
It must also be emphasized that SpaceX is developing Starship/Super Heavy entirely from private funds, not government subsidies. This lack of government funds also means a lack of government oversight, which gives SpaceX complete freedom during development. Government oversight would only slow things down and likely prevent the company from innovating.
Instead, it is free to build the first completely reuseable rocket that also happens to be as powerful as a Saturn 5. And it will do it for less total than NASA has and will spend each year on SLS, for more than twenty years.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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