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How Does SpaceX Make Money + Everything Else You Need To Know

Brent Davis - February 19, 2021

how does spacex make money

SpaceX is the brainchild of the innovative Elon Musk, who also founded Tesla.

The company focuses on space travel and technology.

The company was founded in 2002 on an idea Musk had to grow vegetation on Mars.

Since then, the company has rapidly expanded and now employs over 8,000 people. But exactly how does SpaceX make money?

The company works with governments and space institutions around the world.

In 2020, the company sent NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station, a momentous occasion that millions could view online and on TV.

Elon Musk had hoped to raise public interest in space exploration and has so far been successful.

In this article, we’ll go more in depth behind the history and current events of SpaceX, and, of course, we’ll outline how SpaceX makes money.

How Does SpaceX Make Money?

How Does SpaceX Make Money

It’s unclear how many different revenue streams the company has.

While the company does aim to provide space travel to the public in the future, that’s not an option yet.

One way the company brings in an income is through launching satellites into orbit for other companies or governments.

These launches are thought to be charged at $62 million with government contracts costing even more.

Reportedly, SpaceX signed a contract with NASA in 2017 worth $4.2 billion.

It also had 60 launches that year, worth $7 billion.

The company’s focus has been on innovation and technological advancements rather than making a profit.

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How Much Money Does SpaceX Make?

Unlike rival company Virgin Galactic, SpaceX is a privately-owned company, which means that its finance records aren’t publicly shared.

Reports say the company made $2 billion in revenue in 2019; however, beyond that, there are only guesses about the company’s financial status.

This may change in the future, but it has currently been ruled out by Elon Musk

History of SpaceX

elon musk space x

Elon Musk is the industrious founder of SpaceX. He started the company with a simple idea in mind.

Back in 2001, he thought up “Mars Oasis,” which would see the development of a miniature greenhouse on Mars.

Musk wanted to reinvigorate the public interest in space exploration and see the government increase NASA’s budget.

The company grew rapidly as Elon Musk started to seek staff in 2002.

Rocket engineer Tom Mueller went on to become the company’s CTO of Propulsion.

The name of their first rocket was Falcon 1, a reference to Star Wars‘s Millennium Falcon.

The company started to accept venture capital funding, including $20 million from Founders Fund.

In 2020, the company made news headlines when it successfully launched its Crew Dragon spacecraft crewed by NASA astronauts.

This made SpaceX the first privately held company to send astronauts to the International Space Station.

Who Owns SpaceX?

The company was founded by Elon Musk on May 6, 2002. The company’s headquarters are in Hawthorne, California.

Elon Musk remains the company’s CEO and CTO, and Gwynne Shotwell is President and COO.

The ownership status of the company belongs to the Elon Musk Trust which holds 54% equity and 78% voting control.

Back in 2013, many believed that the company would have an initial public offering. However, Elon Musk decided to hold off from an IPO.

His decision was to wait until after the Mars Colonial Transporter had been flown regularly.

The development of this vehicle began in 2012.

What Is SpaceX Worth?

What Is SpaceX Worth

SpaceX is a billion-dollar company, even though it hasn’t made any profit.

The company has received generous funding from a wide variety of sources.

Google and Fidelity own 8.33% between them, with Google reportedly investing $900 million.

SpaceX has held several successful funding rounds, with 3 taking place in 2019. The company was able to raise $1.33 billion that year.

In August 2020, the company had another funding round that raised $1.9 billion.

This is one of the largest fundraising pushes ever to be had by a private company.

The success of this fundraising has pushed SpaceX’s valuation to $46 billion.

How Can SpaceX Make Money In The Future?

In the years to come, SpaceX will make more money by becoming an even greater force in space exploration.

The company can continue to win contracts around the world for space launches.

SpaceX has government contracts with the U.S and Kazakhstan and can attract more in the future.

The company will cut costs associated with space travel through innovation.

Its focus is on creating reusable crafts which will bring the cost of manufacturing down over time.

The company will also one day offer space travel to the general public.

If SpaceX is ever successful at creating the technology required to reach and colonize Mars, it will change the world forever.

SpaceX is an attractive company for many investors and will continue to receive generous investments.

Should the Mars Colonial Transporter ever be ready, Elon Musk may then decide to list the company on the stock market.

boca chica spacex

In Boca Chica, Texas, where SpaceX is building and testing a passenger and cargo spacecraft, plans for a resort are being made.

Recently, the company listed a job advertisement looking for a resort development manager to oversee the first SpaceX resort.

This would create an entirely new revenue stream for the fledgling company.

How Does SpaceX Make Money?: Final Thoughts

For many years, Elon Musk has developed multiple innovative companies that capture the public’s attention.

Both Tesla and SpaceX are popular companies that have keen interest from private citizens.

His companies have experienced rapid growth, and Elon Musk became the richest person in the world in 2020, a title he took from Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos.

Space exploration is an upcoming industry so the boundaries of this company are truly limitless.

So far the company has successfully flown astronauts to the International Space Station.

It also launched satellites into orbit for the Kazakhstan government as part of a rideshare with other satellites.

With future plans including passenger spacecrafts and SpaceX resorts, the company shows no signs of slowing down.

Its aggressively successful fundraising has the company valued at $46 billion. Financial success at SpaceX is only just beginning.


Brent Davis has been writing about the financial markets for 10 years and worked in research for the last five years at a Fortune 500 company. Brent's investing strategy is to buy high-quality companies and then let compounding do its thing.