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 SpaceX Has Invested $500 Million

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PostSubject: SpaceX Has Invested $500 Million   Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:22 pm

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. said on Wednesday it has invested about $500 million in commercial-space ventures, shedding light on the closely held company's efforts to develop private rockets and capsules even as congressional skepticism about such projects grows.

The figure is substantially larger than founder and Chief Executive wholesale jerseys Elon Musk previously spelled out to lawmakers and goes beyond earlier statements that he has invested $100 million of his personal wealth in the Southern California-based maker of launchers and spacecraft. The nine-year-old company, which is widely known as SpaceX, has said little publicly about its overall spending on design, manufacturing, testing, personnel and facilities.

Testifying before the House Science Committee, Mr. Musk said the company was created "to advance the cause of space" rather than maximize profits. He added that he has retained majority control of the company "to assure that those idealistic goals of SpaceX remain."

The government has invested roughly $300 million in the company, which is considered one of the leading contenders for additional federal financial support.

Wednesday's disclosure comes amid escalating Capitol Hill debate over the projected risks and likely taxpayer costs of funding commercial-space efforts. The White House and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration want lawmakers to appropriate as much as $6 cheap mlb jerseys billion over the next five years for such programs, but bipartisan support for slashing that amount has grown partly because many companies are shying away from committing sizable investments of their own.

John Elbon, head of Boeing Co.'s commercial-space efforts, told the panel that government funding is projected to be the "preponderance" of the company's investment in future manned systems.

Boeing and other companies are also seeking congressional help in reducing anticipated private insurance costs for commercially developed rockets, as well as capping potential financial liabilities in the event of a major accident.

Such moves could add substantially to the total taxpayer burden nfl jerseys cheap and drew the attention of some politicians.

"Sooner rather than later, the taxpayer is going to have to know" how many federal dollars will be required for such legal protections, said Rep. Donna Edwards, a Maryland Democrat.

Mr. Musk reiterated SpaceX pledges to comply with fixed-price contracts if it wins the competition to take astronauts into orbit. He said he would commit to a price of about $20 million per seat per trip, which could begin as early as 2014. The price is roughly one-third ofjerseys wholesale what Russia is now charging NASA for similar missions.

In the next few months, SpaceX hopes to launch its unmanned Dragon capsule to link up for the first time with the International Space Station and deliver a small amount of cargo, followed by the start of regular cargo deliveries probably in late 2012.

To highlight SpaceX's commercial posture, Mr. Musk said that its cheap jerseys approximately $3 billion backlog of launch contracts is about evenly divided between NASA and private-sector customers
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In response to questions from committee members, Bill Gerstenmaier, a senior manned-exploration official at NASA, was less certain about anticipated timelines and cost savings. Depending on congressional funding levels, he said the agency believes it could support more than one commercial-space venture to begin transporting astronauts—perhaps as early as 2016—and charging prices equal to or slightly below Russia's prices. NASA has estimated spending between $4 billion and $6 billion to reach that goal.
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