SpaceX will roll-out hourly delivery of packages for years before flying passengers and this will make them tens of billions of dollars each year. I, Brian Wang, have analyzed how SpaceX will have a monopoly on 1-6 hour package delivery for tens of billions of dollars. This will fund the human passenger global infrastructure and provide massive profits while performing millions of test flights to prove human passenger safety.
Ultra-rapid delivery of packages is clearly the precursor to point-to-point human travel. It will support massive volume increases, cost reductions and safety testing.
This is just like mass consumer electric cars and trucks being the precursor platform for self-driving robotaxis.
Projected SpaceX Starship capabilities are all at the level that Elon Musk describes as target in his Air Force pitch day interview.
Fedex makes about $40 billion a year from Express delivery which is mainly next-day delivery. DHL also makes nearly $20 billion per year from the express delivery. The express delivery market is continuing to grow.
Same Day delivery is growing at 23% per year.
The price of same-day delivery is about $130 per 5-pound package. This is about $60 per kilogram or more if the package is lighter. 65% of businesses that currently use express delivery are looking to move to same-day delivery.
The Starship rocket will provide SpaceX with a monopoly on multiple same-day deliveries. This will be between major cities.
Elon Musk talked about getting the price of a Super Heavy Starship down to about $2 million for 100 tons and having three launches per day. This would be $20 per kilogram. Hourly delivery around the world will only need the Starship. This could reduce the cost to $1 million which would mean $10 per kilogram.
SpaceX would need new spaceports at major cities. They would need three to four Starships on each route to enable launches every 4 hours or less. Each Starship would need 7 to 9 Raptor engines. A larger engine configuration could be needed to enable the longer routes.
SpaceX might initially have a $20 million per Starship launch cost. This would be about $200 per kilogram. Starting at $300 per kilogram for deliveries should still have a profitable business. New York to London. New York to Los Angeles. New York to Toyko. etc… would be the initial markets. Ten spaceports and 30 Starships could get a solid global delivery business going. Starships can connect delivery sorting hubs for each continent to another continent and shave eight hours off of delivery time. Bringing Starship launch costs down would enable a far larger rapid delivery business.
If each Starport cost about $250 million and each Starship cost $10 million. 40 Spaceports would cost $10 billion and 500 Starships would be $5 billion.
If ten Raptor engines were needed for each Starship (extra 2 engines for spares), then the one Raptor engine per day rate of production would mean 36 Starships built in the first year. There would be 100 flights per day with a 36 Starship fleet.
A basic global delivery service could start within 18-30 months of the completion of Starship flying with payload. Extra Raptor factories would enable the completion of the 40 Starport and 500 Starship fleet in about 5 years. This would be over 1000 flights per day.
SpaceX will monopolize the international 1 to 6-hour delivery markets. Any city pairs that would take longer than an 8-hour flight would have exclusive ultra-rapid delivery via SpaceX. There could also be a focus on continental and regional distribution and sorting hubs.
This would be the years before SpaceX proves rapid passenger rocket safety. A full year without cargo rocket accidents with over 1000 flights per day would mean the service would be safe for human passenger service.
The future history of SpaceX will be as follows:
* SpaceX capture over 60% of the commercial launch market. This has happened.
* SpaceX launches and starts operating Starlink mega constellation. 60 production Starlink satellites were launched and the initial service will start in 2020.
* SpaceX flies Starship to orbit in 2020. In 2022 or 2023, SpaceX rolls out its ultra-rapid delivery package service.
* Around 2027, SpaceX is operating over 1000 flights per day for 1 to 6-hour international deliveries.
* Around 2030, SpaceX proves safety of rockets after millions of flights for human one-hour anywhere passenger service. There would already be over one-hundred Spaceports and thousands of Starships.
SOURCES- SpaceX, business wire, Trefis (Fedex, UPS, DHL), Analysis by Brian Wang, Statements from Elon Musk from Interview, What About it? by Felix Schlang
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
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.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.