Elon Musk’s SpaceX is in discussions with investors to raise another round of funding and seeks to double its valuation to as much as US$92-billion (R1.4-trillion), Business Insider reported.
The talks are still at an early stage, with SpaceX looking to close the funding in January, Business Insider said on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. The rocket maker may be unable to persuade investors that its valuation should double from its level in a deal that closed about four months ago, the publication said.
SpaceX, which raised $1.9-billion in August, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Since the previous funding round, SpaceX, already one of the world’s most valuable private companies, flew its first regular crew mission to the International Space Station for Nasa. It was another milestone for a company pioneering the rush to cash in on the commercialisation of space — and planning major investments in satellite-based Internet service and a big new rocket.
Last week, SpaceX performed the first high-altitude test of its new Starship SN8 prototype vehicle, which is designed to carry humans to the moon, Mars and other destinations. Musk deemed the flight a success, even though the test ended with a fiery crash landing in South Texas.
SpaceX has two additional Starship test vehicles nearing completion and Musk has said the craft is likely to conduct its first orbital flight in 2021.
The Hawthorne, California-based company is also under contract with Nasa to build a Starship that can land humans on the moon as part of the agency’s Artemis programme. Ultimately, Musk wants to send hundreds of Starships to colonise Mars and spread human life beyond Earth.
In addition to human exploration, SpaceX is building out its Starlink satellite constellation to provide worldwide broadband Internet from low-Earth orbit. The company has launched more than 700 satellites with thousands more planned to offer global coverage. The company has opened a “Better Than Nothing” beta testing programme in the US and Canada, with kits costing $499 plus $99/month for the service. — Reported by Justin Bachman, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP