Bloomberg News is quoting unnamed sources as saying that SpaceX is seeking to borrow $500 million in the leveraged loan market with Goldman Sachs’ help.
Today’s report said that Goldman Sachs Group is leading the talks with potential investors this week. Neither Goldman Sachs nor SpaceX have publicly acknowledged the talks, however.
SpaceX has notched plenty of successes over the year to date, including 16 Falcon 9 rocket launches plus the first test launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket in February. Within the coming year, the California-based company is expected to execute its first crewed space launch, aimed at sending astronauts to the International Space Station.
Significantly more ambitious and capital-intensive projects are on SpaceX’s longer-range agenda: The company is working on a constellation of thousands of Starlink satellites that are designed to provide global internet access as well as a revenue stream that, over the long run, may be more substantial than the launch business. SpaceX’s team in Redmond, Wash., has been given the lead role in the Starlink project.
Then there’s the BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket: That super-heavy-lifter is designed to take on suborbital passenger flights between terrestrial destinations as well as trips to the moon and Mars. SpaceX has already signed up Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa for a flight around the moon in the 2020s.
Starlink and BFR are each expected to require billions of dollars of investment.
Privately held SpaceX is currently estimated to be worth in the range of $28 billion, based on the value of its stock offerings. Documents have chronicled a $450 million Series H offering last year, and a Series I offering worth as much as $507 million earlier this year.
If SpaceX sticks to its schedule, which can sometimes be an iffy proposition, work on Starlink and BFR will ramp up rapidly. A facility for building components for the BFR is already in operation at the Port of Los Angeles, and short-hop tests for the BFR’s upper-stage spaceship element could begin late next year.
On the Starlink side of the equation, two prototype satellites were launched in February, and SpaceX’s plan calls for the first iteration of the network to go into operation in the 2020-2021 time frame.
SpaceX’s Seattle-area operation has recently been consolidated in a complex of buildings in the Redmond Ridge industrial park on Alder Crest Drive, according to postings on the NASASpaceFlight.com online forum.
Earlier this year, SpaceX listed more than 100 open positions at Redmond, but that job count has now shrunk to about two dozen, suggesting that the company has staffed up its satellite team. And for what it’s worth, one of the online job announcements is putting out a call for in-house baristas.