SpaceX’s spacecraft will value about $2 billion this yr

The SpaceX spacecraft lifts off the launch pad April 20, 2023 during a flight test from the starbase in Boca Chica, Texas.

Patrick T Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

Elon Musk expects SpaceX to spend about $2 billion developing its Starship rocket this year as the company pushes to build on its first launch earlier this month.

“My expectation for the next flight would be to reach orbit,” Musk said during a discussion on Twitter Spaces on Saturday.

While SpaceX conducts secondary rounds about twice a year to allow employees and other shareholders in the company to sell shares, Musk said the company “doesn’t anticipate having to raise funds” to fund the Starship program and its others to further strengthen enterprises.

“To my knowledge, we don’t need to raise any additional funding for SpaceX,” Musk said.

As for the dramatic launch of the first fully stacked Starship rocket on April 20,” said the SpaceX CEO, “the result was roughly in line with my expectations and maybe slightly exceeded my expectations.”

Sign up here to receive weekly issues of CNBC’s Investing in Space newsletter.

SpaceX has several more prototypes in various stages of assembly and aims to launch the next attempt to reach space with the towering rocket within a few months.

“The objective of these missions is information only. We don’t have a payload or anything like that – it’s just about learning as much as possible,” Musk said.

He put the probability of a Starship flight reaching orbit this year at “probably” 80%, but arguing that there is a “100% chance of reaching orbit within 12 months.”

start verification

Starship launches from Texas on April 20, 2023 for the first time with its Super Heavy Booster.


The Starship flight left the launch pad and reached several milestones, but Musk gave more details on a variety of the problems the rocket suffered.

The rocket launched with only 30 of the 33 Raptor engines fired at the base of the super heavy booster. Musk said SpaceX decided not to start three engines because they were not “healthy enough to bring them to full thrust.” “

About 27 seconds into the flight, SpaceX “lost communications” with another engine — an incident that happened “with some sort of energetic event” that removed the heat shield around several other engines. “Things really hit the fan” about 85 seconds after launch, when SpaceX lost “thrust vector control” — or the ability to steer the rocket.

Additionally, Musk reported that it took about 40 seconds for the rocket’s AFTS (Autonomous Flight Termination System, which destroys the vehicle if it flies off course) to kick in, which SpaceX needs to correct before the next launch attempt.

The strongest part of the rocket’s performance was how well it held together, including going through a launch milestone called “Max Q,” or the moment when atmospheric pressure is at its strongest on the rocket.

“The vehicle’s structural margins appear to be better than we expected, as we can tell from the vehicle actually somersaulting towards the end and still staying intact,” Musk said.

Looking ahead, Musk said SpaceX has made “so many improvements” to future prototypes. The company must ensure “that we do not lose thrust vector control on the next launch”.

‘Rock Tornado’

Members of the public walk through a debris field on the launch pad April 22, 2023 after the SpaceX spacecraft lifted off from the starbase in Boca Chica, Texas on April 20 for a flight test.

Patrick T Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

Back on the ground, Musk said the booster created a “rock tornado” under the rocket as it lifted. While SpaceX did not see “evidence that the rock tornado actually physically damaged engines or heat shields,” Musk noted that the company “certainly did not expect” to destroy the launch pad’s concrete and leave a crater in its wake.

“One of the more plausible explanations is that … we may have compressed the sand under the concrete so much that the concrete effectively buckles and then breaks,” Musk said.

A priority for the next flight will be getting the 33 Raptor engines “to start faster and get off the pad faster,” Musk said. It took SpaceX about five seconds to start the engines and launch the rocket, which Musk noted, “It’s a really long time to blast the pad.” The company plans to cut that time in half for the next attempt.

A cloud of dust grows beneath Starship as the rocket launches from Texas on its Super Heavy Booster on April 20, 2023.


Photos of the aftermath have shown the fierce output of the Super Heavy Booster’s thrusters. A US Fish and Wildlife Service report said the launch hurled concrete and metal “thousands of feet away,” creating a cloud of dust and powdered concrete that fell as much as 6.5 miles from the launch site.

On Saturday, Musk said “the pad damage is actually quite minor” and should be “repaired quickly.” He estimates that the repairs needed mean SpaceX will “probably be ready for launch in six to eight weeks.” SpaceX will replace some of the fuel tanks near the launch pad. The 500-foot tower “is in good condition,” with “no significant damage,” although it was struck by “some fairly large chunks of concrete.”

Musk believes the biggest hurdle to flying again is “probably requalifying” the AFTS that destroyed the missile, as “it took far too long” to detonate.

SpaceX is moving forward with a plan to place steel plates, cooled by a water system, under the launch tower for the next Starship rocket.

Environmental activists and researchers have sounded the alarm about the cloud of powdered concrete and dust the launch created. Musk argued that the debris was “not toxic at all,” but said that “we don’t want to do that again.”

“To the best of our knowledge, there was no significant environmental damage that we are aware of,” Musk said.

You might also like

Comments are closed.