Elon Musk Insists SpaceX Isn't Killing Competition With Low Pricing, Hopes Rivals Focus On Rocket Reusability: 'Others Are Free To Copy Us'


SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday refuted claims that the company is subsidizing its space flights to bring down its business rivals.

What Happened: Musk said that the company continues to launch profitably and is not pricing its launches below its basic cost.

“To the best of my knowledge, none of the rideshare missions have lost money,” he said. The lower launch prices, he said, were enabled by the company’s vision to take humans to outer space and its commitment to reusability.

“SpaceX is building the technology to extend consciousness beyond Earth, so the cost per ton to orbit & beyond must necessarily be low enough to accomplish that goal,” the CEO said.

He also urged rival launch providers to focus on reusability, which the company believes will rapidly bring down the cost of space travel as most money goes into manufacturing the launch vehicle.

SpaceX’s Falcon rocket is about 80% reusable, and the company is currently looking to ensure full reusability for its Starship rocket that aims to take humans back to the Moon. Musk stressed that his company does not file too many patents, enabling rivals to replicate SpaceX‘s success.

“We don't use patents, except to block patent trolls, so others are free to copy us,” he posted. “SpaceX is building the technology to extend consciousness beyond Earth, so the cost per ton to orbit & beyond must necessarily be low enough to accomplish that goal.”

Why It Matters: SpaceX offers dedicated rideshare missions for as low as $300,000 for 50 kg to sun-synchronous orbit with additional mass priced at $6,000 per kg.

In comparison, RocketLab charges about $21,500 per kilogram for its launches to specific orbits, The New York Times reported. RocketLab CEO Peter Beck told the newspaper that SpaceX is engaging in anti-competitive behavior with its low prices. Tim Ellis of Relativity Space and Phantom Space‘s Jim Cantrell also shared similar concerns that Musk’s company is pulling down other upcoming players in the space launch industry.

"Every single funding round that was done once we started to become a larger company, and every single customer deal we have signed, has been followed with a swift and large number of outreach calls from SpaceX to all of those entities berating them for doing things with us," Ellis reportedly told NYT.

According to data from analytics firm Bryce Tech, SpaceX launched about 429,125 kgs of spacecraft upmass in the first quarter alone, followed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) which launched just 29,426 kgs. SpaceX’s American rival United Launch Alliance, meanwhile, launched only 1,285 kgs of spacecraft upmass in the quarter.

Read More: Legacy Auto Giants GM, Stellantis Plan To Fend Off Chinese EV Threat With $25K Electric Jeep, ‘Most Affordable’ Revived Bolt

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