SpaceX has closed a new funding round that puts it at a valuation of $100 billion. The reports of the new valuation is based on an agreement between new and existing investors and puts SpaceX among the highest valued privately owned companies.
The agreement raises $755 million at $516 per share in private stock, an increase per share over the $419.99 per share price of SpaceX’s last fundraising round in February, which raised $815 million to develop Starlink and Starship.
According to Forbes, Elon Musk owned 48% of SpaceX before this most recent funding round. As typical for Elon Musk’s companies, SpaceX did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment on this funding round.
Last year, Morgan-Stanley had anticipated that SpaceX could hit a $100 billion valuation based on its ability to land launch contracts. SpaceX currently has contracts to launch components of NASA’s Lunar Gateway and the Jupiter-destined Europa Clipper. It is also making final preparations to launch Crew-3, which will launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on a brand-new Crew Dragon that the crew has just named Endurance.
However, the process of landing lucrative contracts has not always been without challenges. Although it recently won a NASA contract to further develop its Starship-based lunar lander, competitor Blue Origin is currently fighting a court battle with NASA, alleging the space agency made errors in its contract award process that unfairly favored SpaceX. SpaceX’s bid had come in at $2.9 billion, far cheaper than Blue Origin’s bid.
SpaceX has contracts with private individuals and businesses, including Axiom Space, which signed a multi-launch deal to launch private crews to the International Space Station. The first couple of missions will be commanded by veteran astronauts Peggy Whitson and Michael López-Alegría. Axiom Space is preparing to provide new inflatable modules for the International Space Station and eventually spin its hardware off into an independent space station.
The dearMoon mission aims to go even further into space with a trip around the Moon organized by Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa. Maezawa aims to fly with a few artists who can capture the experience in various media as early as 2023.
SpaceX also recently launched the successful, privately organized Inspiration4 mission, which raised $200 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The three-day mission is featured in the five-part Netflix documentary Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space. The mission reused the Crew Dragon named Resilience and reportedly suffered only a couple of minor hiccups such as a malfunctioning toilet. Sian Proctor also recently admitted to a minor case of space-sickness during the first couple of days in space.
This level of activity highlights a pent-up demand for private space travel that SpaceX seems to be the readiest to fill. With Inspiration4 and its Commercial Crew contracts with NASA, it already has four successful crewed missions in orbit and to the International Space Station under its belt, as opposed to brief suborbital hops with people on board made by other aerospace companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.
Elon Musk has also teased the idea of an IPO for the Starlink satellite Internet service, though he said he prefers to wait until revenue from Starlink becomes more predictable. Starlink currently has 500,000 potential customers on its waitlist and president Gwynn Shotwell said that revenue from Starlink could help fund trips to the Moon, which could have been one factor in SpaceX’s new $100 billion valuation.