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Musk Unfazed By Competition As SpaceX Aims To Deliver 80% Of Earth’s Payload To Orbit

During a Twitter Spaces discussion, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk emphasized the company's focus on improving Starlink and their rockets.
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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk expressed his perspective on competition in the sector during a discussion on Twitter Spaces with journalist and author Ashlee Vance. 

SpaceX, Twitter and electric carmaker Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks as he visits the Vivatech technology startups and innovation fair at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, on June 16, 2023. Ashlee Vance had written a book about Elon Musk based his life and career. ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

Musk said he doesn’t really think about competition but focuses on improving Starlink and their rockets. In response to Vance’s question about the competitive landscape against SpaceX in 10 years, Musk emphasized that SpaceX has even launched competitor satellites without charging them extra, stating, “If competitors succeed, that’s great.”

Despite his nonchalant approach to the competition, Musk expects SpaceX to deliver 80% of Earth’s payload to orbit this year, a goal he first announced in March.

The Twitter Spaces event, attended by approximately 289,000 people, lasted about 50 minutes. Vance, the host of the discussion, is also the author of Musk’s biography, titled “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.”

His latest book, “When the Heavens Went on Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach,” narrates the story of four lesser-known space companies — Astra, Firefly, Planet Labs and Rocket Lab — that aim to compete with the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Speaking about Starship, Musk highlighted significant changes made since the first flight and estimated a 60% probability for the next flight to reach orbit, contingent on the success of stage separation. He anticipates the second flight test to occur in six weeks.

Musk has been anticipating Starship’s second flight test since the initial launch attempt on April 20, which resulted in the rocket exploding within four minutes of take-off. Despite the outcome, Musk deemed the test a success.

Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin, though slow, has resources at its disposal, noted Vance. In July 2021, the company ferried a crew of four to space, including Bezos, on its inaugural flight. The company’s sole active rocket suffered a failure in September last year but is expected to return to flight by year-end.

British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE), meanwhile, will start commercial space launches with its Galactic 01 mission this week.

SpaceX has completed 242 launches in total thus far.


Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Kyana Jeanin Rubinfeld

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