Elon Musk on Why SpaceX Has the Right Stuff to Win the Space Race
Musk thinks each Dragon capsule could be used ten times, eventually bringing down the current price per flight of $60 million for use of the Falcon 9 rocket and $60 million for shipping cargo--and eventually humans--aboard the capsule.
SpaceX is also building a much more powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy, which Musk believes can launch a full payload for under $1,000 a pound--"in the space industry, that's like the four minute mile."
The company may go public by the end of 2013, but only if management can provide some predictability in revenues. "You don't want to go public and then surprise the market with a bunch of negative things, and so I think we want to really be at a steady cadence of launches before filing an S-1." One report suggests SpaceX is worth $1.3 billion. "It's probably something like that," Musk says.
Asked about other ventures by other billionaires, Musk paused before replying.
Regarding this week's announcement by Planetary Resources to mine asteroidsfor precious metals to send back to Earth, Musk thinks the group's plans to set up in-space refueling stations is the better, more practical idea. Then there's Blue Origin, a space venture by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, about which little is known. "I think if Jeff Bezos were to spend more time on Blue Origin, it would probably make more progress."
There are many legacy players in the space industry, even legends like Neil Armstrong, who've expressed dismay that a private company will now control a process that has always been controlled by NASA and the military. “Technically I think we’ve probably got, in absolute numbers, more people rooting for our failure,” says Musk, “but relatively speaking, I think we’ve got more people rooting for our success…the ratio of lovers to haters has improved.”Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email