SpaceX does not have a pristine record, as the company has experienced its fair share of failed missions and rocket launches. But despite these things, the Elon Musk-led company has persevered and expanded its range of services. And it looks as if those dark days are finally behind it, as it opens the new year with nothing but success in its mind.
As The Motley Fool recalls, SpaceX had two failed launches in the span of 21 months. There was one in June 2015 and another in September 2016. While even one is incredibly detrimental to the company, two seemed irreparable. Because of the same, the company has been grounded for quite some time, paying off its debts and earning nothing at the time being. It got to the point that the company admitted it was no longer cash-flow positive.
To counter this streak, SpaceX had a successful launch of 10 Iridium communication satellites last Saturday. The satellites were sent into low earth orbit and the Falcon 9 rocket was able to land back on a barge at sea. The relanding is the seventh safe one from the company - five on barges and twice on its launch pad.
The success of the launch allows the company and its investors to breathe a little easier. It is hard to say that another failure would have put SpaceX under, but it would have been that much harder to get back up again. Undoubtedly, Musk led his team of some of the best minds in the world to figure out and fix what was wrong - and they are not stopping there.
SpaceX reportedly has 42 named missions lined up, but a total of 70 missions with customers for scheduling. Among these missions are more Iridium satellite launches. For 2017, the company is looking to have 6 Iridium launches, each consisting of 10 satellites each. The finished plan will be 70 communication satellites
The publication notes that there might be some difficulty in scheduling as the company is still undergoing work on its Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral. The area was heavily affected by the September 2016 mission and still cannot be used. However, it looks as if SpaceX is up to the challenge and will not back down now.
But as Time adds, rocket and satellite launching is not all that SpaceX has to offer. The publication goes on to say that cheap internet access is what might push the company forward this year. Musk, who is the company's CEO, has set his eyes on providing space broadband to the entire world. The idea is not a new one, but it has proven risky in the past.
According to the publication, Internet broadband by satellite has always been a goal for a handful of tech companies. The problem is that efforts have failed or were preemptively stopped. Two decades ago, Teledesic - supported by an investment from Bill Gates himself - planned to launch more than eight hundred satellites, but the project was halted in 2003. Iridium and Globalstar attempted to do the same but ended up in bankruptcy.
But in November last year, Tesla filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission. The papers outlined a plan to launch over four thousand satellites into orbits. Theoretically, the SpaceX System would pass all areas of the earth and would, therefore have the capacity to provide a global Internet service.
If the application is approved and SpaceX does proceed with this plan, it could be a highly profitable turn for the company. It is estimated that the activities will generate as much as US$30 billion by 2025. This number is staggering and about six times more than what is expected from it rocket ventures.