Future of Spacex and the Wealth of Elon Musk

Leroy Chiao flashes a thumbs-up on the way to launch. Chiao says earth to earth flights may not be for the faint of heart

Astronaut Leroy Chiao on the way to the launch of ISS Expedition 10

SpaceX set a brisk pace this week, with two successful launches of the Falcon 9 rocket. The second launch by the company - whose chief executive is its billionaire founder, Elon Musk - re-used a previously flown first stage booster, increasing confidence that SpaceX could deliver re-useable rockets and so drive down launch costs. In light of that, one analyst took a stab at uncovering what an IPO for the company could look like.

SpaceX could become a $50 billion juggernaut through its launch of a satellite broadband network, a team of Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a report Thursday. Upcoming projects will require significant amounts of money. His range is pretty wide, though, and spans between $5 billion and $120 billion.

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Most of the value of SpaceX, in Jonas' view, would come from a satellite-based broadband business.

On top of its satellite internet plan, Jonas sees about a billion dollars of value in SpaceX's current satellite launch program. Right now, the price that SpaceX is charging for one of these launches is relatively low compared to the cost of the operation. "It all comes down to SpaceX". "We believe the reason for this is that SpaceX is willing to pass through the cost savings to its customers in order to gather data on the launch, to flawless the process, and, eventually, go to Mars".

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"The goal of the satellite internet business is to generate enough cash to be able to go to Mars" the research firm said, adding that it believes Musk is serious about his goal of planetary expansion. Jonas said that if both businesses do better than expected, Spacex could be worth as much as $120.6 billion.

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