I recognize that our prices shatter the historical cost models of government-led developments, but these prices are not arbitrary, premised on capturing a dominant share of the market, or “teaser” rates meant to lure in an eager market only to be increased later. These prices are based on known costs and a demonstrated track record, and they exemplify the potential of America’s commercial space industry.
SpaceX, the private space transport company founded by Elon Musk, is riding high from their latest slate of successful launches and taking it to the rest of the industry. This includes the traditional American space companies and the entire international system.
Mr. Musk is even boasting that the Chinese cannot compete with SpaceX, or as he puts it, “this is a clear case of American innovation trumping lower overseas labor rates.”
In case you didn’t know, Elon Musk does this all the time. As the power player behind Tesla and Solar City, the country’s largest solar company, he has an impressive resume. Add to that his famous Iron Man chops, where Robert Downey Jr. has based his super hero character on him.
By itself, SpaceX is pretty impressive. The launch manifest shows 36 flights with twelve from NASA, eight from Iridium (private company, satellite phones), three from Europe, and more from five other countries. Not to mention an undisclosed contract with the U.S. Air Force.
The company has been profitable since 2007 and has grown from 160 employees in 2005 to 1,500 in 2011.
The next step is a manned space flight and all signs are a go. The demand to get astronauts into space, and just about everything else in space travel, is so strong that they are winning contracts before they launch vehicles and sometimes before the designs have been drawn up.
Keep an eye on this company because it may just be the next big thing.
Oh, and they are hiring, over 100 positions..