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Elon Musk has revealed that SpaceX will send NASA astronauts to the ISS this year. But will SpaceX also run its anticipated IPO in 2020?
Yesterday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made a very important announcement. According to the CEO, SpaceX will be able to send NASA astronauts to space sometime before the first half of 2020 is over. After concluding a successful test of the Crew Dragon capsule, Musk spoke to the press about the mission. But as plans move forward, the unanswered question on the minds of most is, will 2020 be the year for SpaceX IPO?
Watch live as SpaceX tests Crew Dragon’s in-flight launch escape capabilities https://t.co/lcfz0LS8O9
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 19, 2020
Demo 2 Mission
Musk gave the timeline described above for the mission – called Demo 2 – building on the company’s plans for the finished capsule. He said:
“We’re highly confident that the hardware will be ready in Q1, most likely at the end of February but no later than March. And we think it appears probable that the first crewed launch would occur in the second quarter.”
Finally, SpaceX seems somewhat ready to deliver on its promises to NASA since the two began their collaboration. However, there are speculations that SpaceX might eventually go public sometime soon.
Possible SpaceX IPO
In truth, all of this is unconfirmed and there is no real indication that SpaceX will be publicly-listed anytime soon. Musk has previously said that SpaceX needs to stay private to keep its goals constant. If the company does go public, a lot of things would have to change almost immediately.
A public company has to answer to shareholders and must also ensure a certain level of transparency. That much restriction into SpaceX, Musk believes, might veer the company off its normal trajectory. At the moment, the company is still strongly wrapped in its 2026 goal of taking humans to Mars. Currently, SpaceX can do pretty much anything it wants, within the law, to achieve that and other goals. If there is an IPO, restrictions would kick in.
Also, the company’s relationship with NASA has been quite advantageous. So far, NASA has paid about $3.14 billion to SpaceX, as it develops transportation for astronauts to get to the International Space Station (ISS). In addition to this, there is a different agreement between the two parties worth $1.6 billion for ISS cargo delivery. When the flights are ready and running NASA has also agreed to pay SpaceX $55 million per astronaut for each seat on the flight.
In general, SpaceX has not been poorly funded, so there cannot be many assumptions about funds being the issue. If there will be an IPO, it makes sense that SpaceX would first want to make the Mars vision a reality.
Could Virgin Galactic’s IPO be A Factor?
The Virgin Galactic spaceflight company went public in October 2019 under the SPCE ticker. Beginning trading with a $12.10 direct listing, it hit intraday highs of $12.93. Analysts gave it a buy rating with so much faith in the company, especially as it’s the first human spaceflight company to run an IPO. A few people have speculated that this might be motivation for SpaceX to consider an IPO.
At press time, SPCE is trading at $15.64 after shooting up 4.69%.
Virgin Galactic is also planning to make 270 trips to space. Pop star Justin Bieber is part of about 600 people who had already made deposits in October last year. The trips are expected to commence in 2023 and will last 90 minutes at $250,000 per ticket.