SpaceX’s $1 Billion Financing Follows Musk’s Expansion Talk

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) landed a major $1 billion financing round led by Google and Fidelity on Tuesday. SpaceX will use some of the money for manufacturing satellites, the company announced in a statement on its website.

The news comes just a week after billionaire CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg News that he is interested in building a commercial satellite business and expanding the company’s Seattle office. Building a satellite network is intended to help speed up data flow of the Internet, while also bringing high-speed service to a greater population, Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek.
The company, known for designing and manufacturing rockets and other spacecraft, is seeking to “do for satellites what it has done for rockets,” Musk told Bloomberg last week.

Google and Fidelity will own just under 10 percent of the company, SpaceX said in the statement.

This has been a big week for satellite makers. San Francisco-based Planet Labs received a $70 million Series C round from Data Collective, CEO Will Marshall wrote in a Jan. 19 blog post. The company, which says it is building an earth-imaging satellite network, also received a $25 million debt facility from Western Technology Investment, a private firm based in Portola Valley, CA, which provides debt and equity to tech and life sciences businesses. Planet Labs has previously worked with SpaceX to launch its satellites.

SpaceX’s expansion offered value to the state of Washington in the form of jobs. While the company’s website listed seven openings in Seattle last week, that’s jumped to 17 since the announcement.

The $1 billion will also “support continued innovation in the areas of space transport” and “reusability,” SpaceX said in the statement.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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