Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, Gigafactory, Leadership, Solar City, Interview (2014)

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SpaceX is a privately funded space transportation company.[28] It developed its first launch vehicle—Falcon 1—and three rocket engines—Merlin, Kestrel, and Draco—completely with private capital. SpaceX contracted with the US government for a portion of the development funding for the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, which uses a modified version of the Merlin rocket engine.[28] SpaceX is developing the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle, the Raptor methane-fueled rocket engine, and a set of reusable launch vehicle technologies with private capital.

As of May 2012, SpaceX had operated on total funding of approximately $1 billion in its first ten years of operation. Of this, private equity provided about $200M, with Musk investing approximately $100M and other investors having put in about $100M (Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, ...).[29] The remainder has come from progress payments on long-term launch contracts and development contracts. As of April 2012, NASA had put in about $400–500M of this amount, with most of that as progress payments on launch contracts.[30] By May 2012, SpaceX had contracts for 40 launch missions, and each of those contracts provide down payments at contract signing, plus many are paying progress payments as launch vehicle components are built in advance of mission launch, driven in part by US accounting rules for recognizing long-term revenue.[30]

In August 2012, SpaceX signed a large development contract with NASA to design and develop a crew-carrying space capsule for the "next generation of U.S. human spaceflight capabilities", in order to re-enable the launch of astronauts from U.S. soil by 2017. Two other companies, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corporation, received similar development contracts. Advances made by all three companies under Space Act Agreements through NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative are intended to ultimately lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services for both government and commercial customers. As part of this agreement, SpaceX was awarded a contract worth up to $440 million for contract deliverables between 2012 and May 2014.[31][32]

At year-end 2012, SpaceX had over 40 launches on its manifest representing about $4 billion in contract revenue—with many of those contracts already making progress payments to SpaceX—with both commercial and government (NASA/DOD) customers.[33] As of December 2013, SpaceX has a total of 50 future launches under contract, two-thirds of them are for commercial customers.[34][35] In late 2013, space industry media began to comment on the phenomenon that SpaceX prices are undercutting the major competitors in the commercial commsat launch market—the Ariane 5 and Proton[36]—at which time SpaceX had at least 10 further geostationary orbit flights on its books.[35]

In January 2015, SpaceX raised $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity, in exchange for 8.333% of the company, making the company valuation at $12 billion. Google and Fidelty join the then current investorship group of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Founders Fund, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn.[37][38] The investment may be related to SpaceX's launch of a satellite construction business and global satellite internet service effort.[39] Google has been searching for a satellite internet partner since the split with O3b and OneWeb.[40]


Tesla Motors is named after electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla.[15][16] The Tesla Roadster uses an AC motor descended directly from Tesla's original 1882 design.[17] The Tesla Roadster, the company's first vehicle, is the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production EV with a range greater than 200 miles (320 km) per charge.[18] Between 2008 and March 2012, Tesla sold more than 2,250 Roadsters in 31 countries.[19][20][21] Tesla stopped taking orders for the Roadster in the U.S. market in August 2011.[22] Tesla unveiled the Tesla Model S all-electric sedan on March 26, 2009.[23] In December 2012, Tesla employed almost 3,000 full-time employees.[3][24] By January 2014, this number had grown to 6,000 employees.


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