CNBC reports that Elon Musk’s SpaceX has completed an equity funding round of $850 million, raising the company’s valuation to $74 billion.
The company raised the new funds at $419.99 a share, those people said — or just 1 cent below the $420 price that Elon Musk made infamous in 2018 when he declared he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at that price.
The latest round also represents a jump of about 60% in the company’s valuation from its previous round in August, when SpaceX raised near $2 billion at a $46 billion valuation.
In addition to SpaceX further building a war chest for its ambitious plans, company insiders and existing investors were able to sell $750 million in a secondary transaction, one of the people said.
SpaceX will use the funding to build out its 12,000-satellite Starlink broadband network and to develop its Super Heavy and Starship vehicles.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has provided more information on SpaceX’s SN8 launch in December and the delay in issuing a license for the SN9 flight conducted yesterday. Basically, the agency says SpaceX proceeded with the December launch without approval, but it is not fining the company for the violation.
FAA Statement on Starship SN8 Launch
Regarding the SpaceX Starship SN8 launch in December 2020, the company proceeded with the launch without demonstrating that the public risk from far field blast overpressure was within the regulatory criteria specified by 14 CFR § 431.35(b)(1)(i).
The FAA required SpaceX to conduct an investigation of the incident, including a comprehensive review of the company’s safety culture, operational decision-making and process discipline. All testing that could affect public safety at the Boca Chica launch site was suspended until the investigation was completed and the FAA approved the company’s corrective actions.
With respect to potential enforcement action, the FAA’s compliance monitoring and enforcement is designed to modify behavior to comply with federal safety regulations. It also has various enforcement tools available to ensure satisfactory public safety results.
The FAA-approved corrective actions implemented by SpaceX enhanced public safety. Those actions were incorporated into today’s SN9 launch. We anticipate taking no further enforcement action on SN8 matter.
HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — On Tuesday, February 2, Starship serial number 9 (SN9) completed SpaceX’s second high-altitude flight test of a Starship prototype from our site in Cameron County, Texas.
Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 was powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 kilometers in altitude. SN9 successfully performed a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.
The Starship prototype descended under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. During the landing flip maneuver, one of the Raptor engines did not relight and caused SN9 to land at high speed and experience a RUD.
These test flights are all about improving our understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.
SpaceX’s Starship SN9 rocket finally flew from Boca Chica in Texas on Tuesday, reaching an altitude of 10 km (6.2 miles) before pancaking into the ground in a gigantic fireball just like its predecessor, Starship SN8, did back in December.
It appeared that one of two rocket engines that were supposed to fire as the rocket reoriented itself for landing failed to ignite. The rocket then plunged into the ground and exploded.
The build up for this flight was longer than usual because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not issue a launch license in time for SM9’s planned flight last week.
The FAA issued the launch license late Monday after resolving safety issues. The agency issued the following statement explaining the circumstances behind issuing the license.
Prior to SN8 test launch in December, SpaceX sought a waiver to exceed the maximum public risk allowed by federal safety regulations. After the FAA denied the request, SpaceX proceeded with the flight. As a result of this non-compliance, FAA required SpaceX to conduct an investigation of the incident. All testing that could affect public safety at Boca Chica launch site was suspended until the investigation was completed and FAA approved company’s corrective actions to protect public safety. The corrective actions arising from the SN8 incident are incorporated into the SN9 launch license.
SpaceX has already rolled out the doomed rocket’s successor, SN10 rocket.
Flight date depends upon completion of review and the issuing of a launch license by Federal Aviation Administration.
Wednesday, February 3
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Payloads: 60 Starlink broadband satellites Launch Time: 5:57 a.m. EST (1057 UTC) Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Thursday, February 4
Launch Vehicle:Falcon 9 Payloads: 60 Starlink broadband satellites Launch Time: 1:19 a.m. EST (0619 UTC) Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida
NET Saturday, February 13
Launch Vehicle: VSS Unity/VMS Eve Payload: Two pilots, microgravity experiments Launch Time: TBD Launch Site: Spaceport America, New Mexico
Repeat of a flight test aborted on Dec. 12 due the computer losing contact with the engine. Launch opportunities extend through February. First of three additional tests intended to complete SpaceShipTwo’s initial flight test program.
SpaceX was not able to conduct a planned flight test of its SN9 Starship vehicle at Boca Chica in Texas this week because it didn’t have a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
This time, instead of a rocket exploding, Twitter did.
Video Caption: On December 9, 2020, Starship serial number 8 (SN8) completed a high-altitude flight test as it successfully ascended, transitioned propellant, and demonstrated a first-of-its-kind controlled aerodynamic descent and landing flip maneuver – which will enable landing where prepared surfaces or runways do not exist, including the Moon, Mars, and beyond.
SpaceX Boca Chica Launch Site Scoping Period FAA Announcement
The FAA is holding a public scoping period to assist the FAA in determining the scope of issues for analysis in the draft environmental assessment (EA). As a part of the public scoping period, the FAA requests public comments. More information about providing public comments can be found at the end of this email.
SpaceX flew its Starship SN8 vehicle for nearly seven minutes on Wednesday, but the ship exploded as it attempted to land at the test site in Boca Chica, Texas.
The vehicle flew vertically, powered by three Raptor engines. One engine stopped, and then a second one stopped firing, leaving a sole Raptor to power the flight.
“Successful ascent, switchover to header tanks & precise flap control to landing point!” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted.
Starship then pitched and glided to its landing area. However, SN8 was not able to right itself using engine power before it struck the ground at 6 minutes 42 seconds into the flight.
“Fuel header tank pressure was low during landing burn, causing touchdown velocity to be high & RUD, but we got all the data we needed! Congrats SpaceX team hell yeah!!” Musk tweeted.
Prior to the flight test, Musk had estimated that SN8 had about a 30 percent chance of landing successfully.
SN8 was the latest in a series of Starship prototypes. SpaceX wants to use Starship and the Super Heavy rocket to launch crewed missions to the moon and Mars, satellites into orbit, and rapid point-to-point flights between distant locations on Earth.
SpaceX will attempt a high-altitude flight test of its Starship prototype sometime next week. Tesleratireports:
CEO Elon Musk says that SpaceX’s first fully-assembled Starship prototype is on track for its 15-kilometer (~50,000 ft) launch debut after completing a second three-engine static fire test on Tuesday.
Starship serial number 8’s (SN8) three Raptor engines ignited for a few seconds around 5:30 pm CST (UTC-6) on Tuesday, November 24th, less than four hours before a record-breaking Falcon 9 rocket launched another batch of Starlink satellites roughly a thousand miles to the east. Perhaps briefly producing upwards of 600 metric tons (6000 kN/~1.3M lbf) of thrust, Starship SN8’s second triple-engine static fire was actually the first with that particular trio of engines.
Cameron County has posted the following schedule for closing Highway 4 and Boca Chica Beach to allow SpaceX to conduct the test.
TEMP. CLOSURE DATE
TIME OF CLOSURE (CST)
CURRENT BEACH STATUS
Nov 30, 2020
7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Dec 1, 2020
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Dec 2, 2020
8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Musk has estimated there is a one-in-three chance of Starship landing successfully. There are two more Starships in production.
WASHINGTON (FAA PR) — SpaceX has informed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it plans to apply for licenses for suborbital and orbital launches of its Starship spacecraft powered by the Super Heavy rocket at its launch site in Boca Chica, Texas.
Virgin Galactic’s record of delays and broken promises raises doubts about its ambitious supersonic aircraft project as company founder Richard Branson fights to save his struggling empire in the midst of a global pandemic.
Updated on 10/27/20 at 12:39 p.m. PDT to include spending comparison of Virgin Orbit to Rocket Lab.
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
Richard Branson’s dream of a suborbital Virgin Galactic vehicle zipping passengers between distant cities at hypersonic speeds above Mach 5 (6,174 km/h, 3,836 mph) is dead. At least for now.
In August, the space tourism company he founded pivoted to a slower supersonic Mach 3 (3,704 km/h, 2,302 mph) business jet. Virgin Galactic unveiled a mission concept for an aircraft that would carry 9-19 passengers at a cruising altitude of 60,000 ft (18,288 m).
SpaceX accomplished the first hot fire of a Starship prototype outfitted with three Raptor engines. The vehicle is being prepared for a flight to 15 km (~50,000 ft) from its test site at Boca Chica Beach in Texas.