Nextbigfuture has looked at the likely future of SpaceX up to 2030 and now recaps the view to 2030 and extends the view to 2050.
The Mars aspect of SpaceX future impact will be less important than how 25X the speed of sound travel transforms our world and has huge economic impacts.
Geoffrey West and the Sante Fe Institute performed a study of cities and found that if the size of a city doubles, then, on average, wages, wealth, the number of patents, and the number of educational and research institutions all increase by approximately the same degree, about 15 percent. They refer to this systematic phenomenon as “superlinear scaling”: produces, and consumes, whether it’s goods, resources, or ideas. Reusable rockets could create a global city of 9-10 billion people by 2050. This would be a “city” with ten-doublings over a ten million person city. This would be a 150% boost in per-person income.
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. 120 production Starlink satellites are already launched and the initial service will start in mid-2020. There should be 1400 Starlink satellites in orbit by the end of 2020.
* SpaceX flies Starship to orbit in 2021. In 2022 or 2023, SpaceX rolls out its ultra-rapid delivery package service.
* SpaceX annual revenue surpasses NASA’s budget by 2025
* Around 2027, SpaceX is operating over 1000 flights per day for 1 to 6-hour international deliveries.
* Around 2030, SpaceX proves the 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.
There will be mostly single-stage Starships for moving packages and then people around the earth. There will be fewer Super Heavy Booster stages.
Superior Economics for SpaceX Rapidly Fully Reusable Rockets Than Commercial Jets
The Starships will provide mach 20 to mach 25 travel around the planet. Mass-produced SpaceX Starships will be lower cost than the Falcon 9. They will usually have fewer engines and the steel structure will be less expensive. SpaceX Starships could cost about $15-30 million each.
There are almost 30,000 commercial passenger jets in the world today. Those passenger jets cost about $100-300 million each. They can only be flown once or twice a day for long-haul flights because it takes them 8-14 hours to fly the long trips.
The Starships will be able to fly those routes in one hour. Full rapid reusability will mean ten to fifteen flights per day per vehicle. Those full reusable and safe rockets would have superior economics to commercial jets.
By 2035, international travel should increase to about two to three billion international passengers per year.
SpaceX has discussed putting one thousand passengers in each Starship and reducing the cost of each ticket. This could increase the demand for international travel. Travel would be faster, more convenient and could be in the $300-500 per ticket price range.
This could mean about 5-10 billion international passengers per year by 2040.
Thousands of Starships flying packages and people would mean trillions of dollars for SpaceX each year. There would be hundreds of SpaceX Super Heavy Starships building up the cis-lunar construction and industries.
China and other countries will develop fully reusable rockets as well. It was a necessity for countries to develop commercial passenger jets. The US-dominated global travel with the Boeing planes and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 for decades. It was not until Airbus that there was a major competitor making the vehicles. There were international airlines that bought and owned the US planes. Countries will buy their own fleets of SpaceX Starships.
The renderings of SpaceX moon bases and orbital hotels will be tiny relative to the size of space industries by 2040 and 2050.
The dominant rocket enabled industries of 2020-2050 will be:
Communications, Digital TV and Information : Growing from $250 billion today to a trillion-dollar industry
Passenger Travel : $500 billion to trillion dollar per year
Space Based Solar Power : $200+ billion per year
Package Delivery : $200+ billion per year
Space Hotels : $100+ billion
Space Mining : $100+ billion
By 2040, the world will have high-speed self-driving future cars moving through tunnels at 150-200mph mainly for travel up to 200 mile range.
There will be high-speed rail in low pressure or vacuum tubes and hyperloop for travel at 500 mph to 2000 mph mainly for travel up to 1500 mile range.
Reusable rockets would provide the travel for ranges beyond 1500 miles.
Cross country deliveries will be with self-driving electric trucks. They will cross 3000 miles in one-day.
There will also be one to two-hour delivery with rockets around the world.
Regions will connect into megacities because of high-speed travel.
By 2050 about 9 billion of the 10 billion people in the world will be part of a two-hour global giga-region. There is a 15% increase in per capita income when cities population doubles.
Going from 10 million and 20 million person megacities today to fully connected 9 billion people would be about ten doublings in population. This would be a 150% per capita boost in per capita income.
New multiple trillion-dollar industries and faster commerce and a boost from hyper-connectivity will provide an extra tripling to the world economy.
The main value and economic impact for the world would be the hyper-connection and turning the planet into one big super-city. The high-speed travel would support the fleets of rockets. The rockets would then make industrializing space, space tourism, space mining and space-based solar energy trivial.
Space-based solar energy at scale could make hyper-abundant clean energy, which would also boost the world economy.
SOURCES- SpaceX, Analysis by Brian Wang of Nextbigfuture, IATA, BTS
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com