Investor confidence in SpaceX is going strong, especially because of its ambitious (and now successful) efforts to launch humans into space in its Crew Dragon aircraft. As a result, it was able to obtain over half a billion dollars from investors for two of its pioneering programs: the Starship and Starlink.
Ever since the creation of SpaceX in 2002, the company has been dedicatedly working towards the goals of reducing the cost of spaceflight, commercializing space travel and colonizing Mars. With ruthless efficiency that allowed the company to cut raw material costs and reuse rockets, it has achieved its first goal. And now, it is one step closer to achieving the last two goals, having secured funding for two of its space colonization programs.
Over 10 million people all over the globe watched in awe as the Crew Dragon took off to land two NASA astronauts in the International Space Station. Soon enough, the world may get to witness the launch of another groundbreaking rocket: the Starship.
SpaceX created the Starship with the objective of making it the first reusable orbital-class carrier rocket with the ability to position 150 metric tons in orbit in a single launch. Much like many of its other vehicles, the Starship will also make use of orbital refueling- that is, the refueling of a spacecraft while it is still in orbit- to carry out many of its missions. This is a revolutionary technology that completely changed the way rockets are launched. Not only is it more sustainable than conventional methods, it is also cost-effective and can enable millions of people across the world to travel to space.
Sustainable and low-cost spaceflight is not the only thing SpaceX aims to do. It is channeling its expertise in building spacecraft to meet one of the most important needs of our generation: a low-cost, high-speed internet connection. This is the Starlink project, a constellation of more than 40,000 small satellites that will stay in low Earth orbit (LEO) to establish high-quality broadband in every corner of the globe. It would allow even those living in remote and inaccessible areas to use the internet. On its official website, SpaceX stated that the broadband will be operational in the US and Canada by 2020 and global coverage may be achieved by 2021. The revenue earned from this mission can also be used to fund Starship.
SpaceX has already launched 360 satellites for this program. The company said that the next launch of 475 satellites will take place no earlier than June 3. Given that it would have to place around 39,000 more satellites in orbit to complete this mission, the launches are a small step forward for the company. However, this satellite constellation is already the largest one in LEO.
The first news of funding for the capital-intensive projects appeared on CNBC, a few hours before the Crew Dragon launch at NASA. SpaceX’s first filing with the SEC revealed that it managed to raise $567 million, far surpassing its goal of $500 million. However, the figures were later revised by the company and the filing was amended: CNBC stated in their news report that the company actually raised $346 million, slightly below its target of $349.9 million.
The first figure for the amount of funding it raised was correct, except that the target- the total of the first funding round for $250 million and the second one for $349.9 million- was $599.9 million. Both rounds opened on February 28th of this year to 27 of the company’s investors. The cumulative funding from all rounds since early 2019 is at around $1.6 billion, all of which was probably invested into the Starship and Starlink missions. Moreover, with the support of Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the programs are guaranteed a constant source of funding for the next year.