Elon Musk spends a good chunk of his time at his company Space Exploration Technologies, or better known as SpaceX. He’s been known to spend days at a time working and has recently lowered his weekly hours from 120 to about 80-90. Surely, only company owners would work that many hours. So, does Elon Musk own SpaceX?
No – He does however, own the majority of the company, including a majority of the voting power. But, unlike his other company Tesla, SpaceX is not a public company, it remains privately owned and is not available on the stock exchange.
Elon Musk owns 54% of SpaceX, which of course is not only the majority holder, but he owns the majority of the company itself. With approximately 78% of the voting shares, he has a lot of sway with SpaceX, much more than in publicly traded Tesla.
The original goal of Space Exploration Technologies was to put a greenhouse on Mars and grow food there. Musk is a big believer that we need to populate other planets to prevent civilization from going extinct.
Musk has long been interested in keeping civilization afloat, while also having a deep interest in sustainability. With a mother who is a registered dietician, and classically trained chef brother, it’s not a surprise that Musk had his mind on sustainability through healthy eating.
Is younger brother Kimbal has accompanied Elon on many of his business ventures, and SpaceX is no different, with Kimbal acting as Director. Though Kimbal focuses much of his time on his own companies and interests surround food and ensuring that everybody in the world has access to fresh, healthy food.
The Reality of Space Travel
It soon became clear to Musk that space travel was just too expensive and that his vision of Mars Oasis was not going to become reality. Soon though, that got him to thinking about the high costs of space, and what made them so unattainable. The company’s mission then shifted to bringing down the costs of space travel, while making it available to consumers.
One way in which he decided he could save money, after a couple of failed attempts to buy rocket missiles at a cheaper price, was to build them in-house, including the parts. This would prevent them from having to be dependent on contractors and suppliers, who inflate costs so that they can make money.
From there he continued to expand what he wanted to accomplish with Space from providing fast speed broadband to all the planet, launching satellites, and working with NASA.
SpaceX and NASA
SpaceX’s big break came in 2006 when they were one of two companies awarded a contract by NASA, who had hoped to make supply flights to the International Space Station a competitive market. Opening up space services like this to private, non-government companies, was groundbreaking for NASA at the time.
Another big contract by NASA followed in 2008, referred to as the Commercial Resupply Program. NASA and SpaceX currently have contracts running until 2024, and no doubt more will come about between now and then.
Breaking Records and Making History
SpaceX’s Falcon 1 was the first liquid-fueled vehicle, by a private company, to reach orbit, in 2008. In 2010 they became the first company to orbit, and then successfully bring back a rocket. In 2012, after docking with the International Space Station, it became the first commercial company to do so.
These are just a few of the history-making accomplishments of SpaceX. Musk continues to put his time into the company, even if he doesn’t own it outright, as he believes in their missions and has always had a fascination with space and rockets.
SpaceX and the Stock Exchange
As we mentioned previously, SpaceX is still a privately-owned company, unlike Tesla. Does SpaceX plan on going public, and hitting the stock exchange, at any point? As Melissa Parietti predicts, in her article for Investopedia, it doesn’t seem likely that SpaceX will make the jump. With its current working relationship with NASA it would be too risky a move, and they could end up losing future contracts.
They might, however, decide to break their Starlink Satellites from SpaceX and make that company available for public trading. Though at this time, no such move has taken place, and while he doesn’t fully own SpaceX, the company needs Musk’s vote before they can do anything.