Private space outfit SpaceX claims it has scored the “biggest” commercial rocket launch deal in history which it says is worth $492 million.
Iridium Communications wants 10 launches to put up the company’s next-generation constellation of satellites starting in 2015.
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said more than half of his company’s 30 launches are purely commercial. The statement means that those who thought that private space companies could not make cash were talking out of their own black holes.
The move worries some members of Congress and some former astronauts who fear that relying on private companies to ferry humans into space is too risky.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after the first test launch of the company’s new Falcon 9 rocket, a test that SpaceX had pronounced a “near-total” success.
The other advantage is that SpaceX’s Falcon rockets are “100 percent” American-designed and -made. Although so was Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohen and they are pretty broken.
Recently the Wall Street Journal waded into SpaceX claiming that it needed $1 billion to proceed with its plans to develop the Dragon space capsule and Falcon 9 rocket.
Musk admits that he will need to take on more debt as he expands the company but that will not be a bad thing.
The Iridium payloads will be launched on Falcon 9 rockets from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, after SpaceX spends about $50 million to develop a launch pad there. SpaceX now has launch pads at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, and Cape Canaveral.