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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) by Immerman on Saturday April 14 2018, @04:37PM

    by Immerman (3985) on Saturday April 14 2018, @04:37PM (#666962)

    1) Possibly, but reduced thrust equals reduced efficiency as you depart from the optimal flight path, and thus reduced payload. And humans actually make for a fairly dense payload. And even a throttled back launch would likely be louder than a current F9 launch, which is horrendously loud, even from miles away. Offshore launch pads certainly help with that, but limits you to cities along the coast (admittedly that probably covers a majority of the most desirable endpoints)

    2) All the SpaceX videos I've seen show the suborbital flights still using the booster, so I question your assertion that it wouldn't be needed. Also, the last claims I saw of the BFR Spaceship making it to orbit on it's own were from last... July I think, when they were still discussing the original design - the scaled-down version wasn't announced until around November. Even if the claims still hold, you'd be talking a drastically reduced payload. After all it's not just the thrust that matters, there's also all the extra mass of the larger ship in the face of the tyranny of the rocket equation.

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