Musk’s SpaceX raises almost $2 billion in a launch-heavy month
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. took in $1.9 billion in new funding this month and plans to raise more, capping off a busy period that includes its first successful human spaceflight, a launch for a satellite-based Internet service and work on a massive ship slated to carry people to Mars.
The company, founded by Elon Musk, sold the bulk of its planned $2.07 billion offering to investors starting Aug. 4, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. SpaceX plans to sell another $165 million in equity and preferred stock.
Seventy-five investors have participated in the latest round of funding, which will value the company at $46 billion, Bloomberg News reported last week. That would rank SpaceX as one of the most valuable venture-backed U.S. companies.
SpaceX’s fundraising comes during a fertile period, both for the Tesla Inc. sister company and capital markets more broadly. Technology companies, Tesla in particular, have been especially favored as the stock market flirts with a record high.
Tuesday’s filing came the same day that SpaceX made a record sixth flight for one of its Falcon 9 rocket boosters. The company delivered 58 of the company’s Starlink satellites to orbit, along with three SkySat satellites for Planet Labs Inc.
SpaceX has said that the latest version of the Falcon’s first stage can fly at least 10 times without major refurbishment. The Florida launch also marked more than 50 successful landings for the rocket’s first stage.
The company has launched more than 600 satellites for Starlink, a high-speed Internet network that could begin commercial service late this year for customers in northern North America.
On Aug. 2, SpaceX successfully returned two astronauts from the International Space Station after a 64-day mission. The SpaceX Dragon demonstration trip, which began May 30, was the first time a private contractor had flown National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel aboard a private spacecraft. SpaceX’s first regular taxi flight for NASA, scheduled for mid-October, will take four astronauts to the space station.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is constructing prototypes in Boca Chica, Texas, of its heavy-lift Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket. The company plans in 2023 to fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his guests on the first private space-tourism jaunt around the moon.
On Aug. 4 a Starship prototype called SN5 flew about 500 feet high before landing successfully. A similar craft, SN6, may perform a similar test this month. SpaceX ultimately plans to fly as many as 100 people aboard the 394-foot (120-meter) tall Starship back and forth to the moon and Mars.