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posted by martyb on Friday April 13 2018, @08:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the sky-high-valuation dept.

SpaceX has raised $507 million, bringing the company's valuation to about $25 billion. That makes SpaceX the third most valuable venture-backed startup behind Uber and Airbnb, and also raises Elon Musk's worth by $1.4 billion to about $21.3 billion. SpaceX will launch NASA's TESS spacecraft on Monday, and plans to launch Bangabandhu-1 on May 5 using the Block 5 version of Falcon 9.

While SpaceX is planning to launch a record 30 missions in 2018, and possibly 50 missions in upcoming years, SpaceX expects the bulk of its future revenue to come from its upcoming Starlink satellite internet service. Internal documents show an estimate of $30 billion in revenue from Starlink and $5 billion from launches by 2025.

SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell has said that the company's BFR could be used for 100-person city-to-city flights within a decade:

A lot can (and probably will) change in a decade. But the idea is that a very large rocket, capable of carrying about 100 people, could fly like an aircraft and do point-to-point travel on Earth much faster than a plane — halfway across the globe in about 30 to 40 minutes, Shotwell said, landing on a pad five to 10 kilometers outside of a city center. Shotwell estimated the ticket cost would be somewhere between economy and business class on a plane — so, likely in the thousands of dollars for transoceanic travel. "But you do it in an hour."

"I'm personally invested in this one," she said, "because I travel a lot, and I do not love to travel. And I would love to get to see my customers in Riyadh, leave in the morning and be back in time to make dinner."

How could travel by rocket cost so little? Shotwell said the efficiency would come from being fast enough to be able to operate a route a dozen or so times a day, whereas a long-haul airplane often only does one flight per day.

She also said that the company could enable a manned mission to Mars within a decade. Boeing's CEO is also "hopeful" that humans will set foot on Mars within a decade.

Finally, Elon Musk has showed off an image of the main body tool/manufacturing mold for the BFR. BFR has a height of 106 meters and diameter of 9 meters, compared to a height of 70 meters and diameter of 3.7 meters for Falcon 9.


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Friday April 13 2018, @12:58PM (3 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 13 2018, @12:58PM (#666439) Journal
    But I sense you don't believe that actually happens despite being immersed in a world where it happens all over the place.
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Immerman on Friday April 13 2018, @02:49PM (2 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Friday April 13 2018, @02:49PM (#666480)

    Especially when there's a limited number of providers. Just look at how prices for internet access and generic medicines have been plummeting lately...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13 2018, @03:36PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13 2018, @03:36PM (#666499)

      In terms of real wealth, outside of the currency manipulation games, prices have been plummeting for all kinds of good and services. Things have never been so cheap in all of human history. We are overflowing with wealth and living in a luxury that kings could only dream of. And it should be good. But it's not. Why?

      Wages are also plummeting. (There is some sophistry to be had about wages being another price. But let's cut to the quick: when the working class is disorganized, it has no capability to exert control over that price, and it ends up eating its own seed corn and starving next year instead of starving this year.)

      Thus, if you're in the working class, despite the fact that khallow is objectively correct, you will doubt what he says. From your point of view, he's completely out of touch and perhaps even taking out of his ass.

      So, I think it's fairly obvious what we need to do. We need wages to go up. The only way for that to happen is for the working class to organize. We don't need the full-on revolution the Trotskyists are ever hoping for. The working class simply needs to become conscious of how badly it's getting screwed, and it needs to find the power at the negotiating table it's always had in numbers.

      Capitalism works best with a healthy middle class. If hard work can reliably take somebody from rags, perhaps not to riches, but to a stable, middle-class life, capitalism is the best way we know to organize human industry and the advancement of the arts. (Somebody will say that this still happens today. Sure, luck can fill in some gaps, but luck is not enough.) Without a middle class, capitalism is indistinguishable from dictatorship.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday April 14 2018, @12:13AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 14 2018, @12:13AM (#666674) Journal

        Wages are also plummeting.

        Not really. In the US for example, they've outpaced inflation. And with benefits, like company-provided health insurance, they're increasing well above the rate of inflation.

        Thus, if you're in the working class, despite the fact that khallow is objectively correct, you will doubt what he says. From your point of view, he's completely out of touch and perhaps even taking out of his ass.

        In the developed world. Even then most countries are continuing to improve. Once you get outside of the developed world, you see massive increases in various measures such as standard of living, wages, etc.

        Capitalism works best with a healthy middle class. If hard work can reliably take somebody from rags, perhaps not to riches, but to a stable, middle-class life, capitalism is the best way we know to organize human industry and the advancement of the arts. (Somebody will say that this still happens today. Sure, luck can fill in some gaps, but luck is not enough.) Without a middle class, capitalism is indistinguishable from dictatorship.

        And you get that with healthy employers and healthy labor competition. No country or region really does enough for their employers, but what is done is still good enough for massive middle class creation outside of the developed world with modest shrinking (much of which actually goes in the wealthier direction) of the middle class in the developed world.