A Forbes article by a knowledgeable writer on the Space Industry has some more insights on SpaceX’s financial situation.
SpaceX generated about $2.5 billion in revenues annually. In the 12 months ending in September, it produced $270 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. A Bloomberg account of a SpaceX debt placement found SpaceX included pre-payments by customers in its earnings calculations while excluding some research expenditures. Without those adjustments, SpaceX would have sustained a loss.
SpaceX is still moving fast. In December, it appears they will be able to reuse the $6 million nosecone farings. They made the farings waterproof. If SpaceX sustained 20 launches per year then this would save them about $100 million per year. I am assuming $1 million for recovery and reconditioning.
In December, SpaceX proved that they should be able to reuse the first stage four times or more. Previously they were able to reuse two times. They flew the first stage once and then reused it once. They can now fly it once and re-use three or more times. SpaceX believes they can reuse it nine or ten times and then give them an overhaul and continue using them.
In 2019, let us suppose the average first stage re-use is four times. I think the first stage is about $30 million in cost. If half were used twice and half were used once in the 12 months up to September, then the cost was about $23 million per launch. In 2019, if half are used once and half are used four times, then the average cost is $60 million over five launches. This is $12 million per launch.
Twenty launches times $11 million is $220 million per year.
Sometimes they will need to launch once because they will not re-land.
I think SpaceX will be $300 million to $400 million more profitable on Falcon 9 block 5 launches.
If SpaceX gets higher profit NASA crewed launches two or three times per year and higher profit Falcon Heavy launches and some military launches then they make an estimated $50 million to $100 million of profit for each of those launches. Five of those launches is $250 million to $500 million.
Starlink and Super Heavy Starship
Nextbigfuture also estimates, SpaceX Starlink will make several billion dollars per year from the finance industry for premium low latency connections. It was worth New York and Chicago $100 million per year to put a premium microwave data connection between the two cities. This was to shave 5% of the time from pricing updates and order placement.
There would be 190 combinations of pairs of the top 20 financial cities. There are 435 combinations of pairs of the top 30 financial cities. If the top $100 million per year was paid by the top 20 cities, then this would be $19 billion per year. If the premium internet pairing for the connections to 21 to 30 was worth $10 million per year then this would be another $2.45 billion per year. Even with a half-price discount, the total would still be $10 billion per year.
The SpaceX Starlinks could save 30-50% of the latency time. The value for the Starlink financial latency reduction should be even higher.
Given the future value of the Starlink satellite network, will Elon Musk be able to arrange the financing?
It only makes sense for SpaceX to go all out for that Starlink and Super Heavy Starship future.
This along with Elon Musks personality and history of making the daring business moves.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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