SpaceX’s Private Flight to the ISS
SpaceX successfully launched a private flight to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday morning, delivering a quartet of astronauts, including government astronauts from Saudi Arabia. The week-long mission, Ax-2, was booked by Axiom Space in collaboration with SpaceX. The Falcon 9 rocket launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule “Freedom” reaching the ISS approximately 16 hours later. Retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson commands the mission, piloted by businessman and auto racer John Shoffner. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia purchased the final two seats, with Rayyanah Barnawi becoming the first Saudi woman to fly in space. The mission will involve over 20 different science investigations. This marks SpaceX’s 10th human spaceflight, further expanding the company’s technical capabilities. Financial details of the Ax-2 mission have yet to be disclosed, but private missions like these are expected to come at a high cost. Axiom oversees the mission’s management, while SpaceX provides the rocket and capsule.
All this news around SpaceX goes back to the question: will the space giant ever go public? There is a more recently revealed option of IPO-ing SpaceX’s subsidiary, Starlink, which adds an interesting twist to the equation. Starlink’s impressive growth, with 1 million active subscribers, and its success in the satellite broadband internet market, could make it an attractive candidate for a separate public offering. By listing Starlink independently, SpaceX could raise capital while allowing Musk to maintain majority control over the parent company. This strategy provides a pathway for SpaceX to access funding without fully going public and relinquishing Musk’s voting power. However, specific decisions regarding an IPO and the structure of any public offering would ultimately depend on various factors, including market conditions and strategic considerations.
What do you think about the latest launch, and will SpaceX go public?
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I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.