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Billionaire Elon Musk Raises $1.9 Billion In New Funding For SpaceX


TOPLINE

With investor interest surging, billionaire Elon Musk finalized $1.9 billion in new funding for his rocket company SpaceX, according to regulatory filings on Friday, just weeks after completing the first launch of astronauts to space from U.S. soil since 2011. 

KEY FACTS

The nearly $2 billion in fresh capital was oversubscribed and is the largest fundraising round yet for SpaceX, according to PitchBook. 

News of the funding was first reported by Bloomberg, which said that the private company will now have a valuation of $46 billion, citing people familiar with the matter.

Brokerage giant Fidelity Investments, which is already an existing investor in the company, was one of the biggest participants in the latest round, according to Bloomberg.

The funding comes just after SpaceX completed its most high-profile mission yet: In May, the company sent a NASA crew to the International Space Station, marking the first crewed orbital flight from American soil since 2011.

The two astronauts completed a safe return to earth on August 2—with SpaceX’s Dragon capsule successfully splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico and capping off a signature achievement for Musk 18 years after he founded the space exploration company. 

What’s more, SpaceX recently landed a $316 million defense contract with the U.S. government to launch military satellites into orbit for five years starting in 2022.

Big number

Elon Musk recently became the world’s fifth-richest person (again) thanks to the recent surge in electric vehicle maker Tesla’s stock. He now has a net worth of $86.5 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates.

Crucial quote

“Led by a string of remarkable feats by SpaceX, we are fielding a pace of incoming investor interest in the space economy on a level that may even exceed the autonomous car frenzy of 2016/2017,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a recent note. The firm estimates that the “global space economy” will be worth at least $1.1 trillion by 2040.

Key background

SpaceX has been firing on all cylinders in recent months. Beyond the successful launch of U.S. astronauts into space, the company is seeing “extraordinary demand” for its Starlink satellite broadband service, CNBC reported. With nearly 700,000 potential customers interested in the U.S. alone, the company is now seeking FCC approval to increase its number of satellites to 5 million, compared to 1 million today.

What to watch for

Elon Musk isn’t the only one leading the entrepreneurial charge to reclaim the galaxy from big government. The billionaire space race has been heating up in recent months, with Jeff Bezos overseeing Amazon’s recent launch of its own satellite internet network. What’s more SpaceX beat out Bezos’ Blue Origin for a big Air Force defense contract earlier in August. The competition pitches two of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurs against each other in a space race for public money. A partner at a venture capital fund focused on space exploration recently told Forbes that the “Musk vs. Bezos battles” could well “rage” for many years to come.

Further reading

Elon Musk’s First Astronaut Launch Is One Giant Leap For Space Capitalism (Forbes)

Elon Musk Beats Jeff Bezos To U.S. Air Force Contract As Billionaire Space Race Blasts Off (Forbes)

Amazon Is Going To Add 3,000 More Satellites Into Earth’s Orbit – And People Are Not Happy (Forbes)

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