Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) made history on May 25 by flying a successful mission that docked with the International Space Station and successfully landed back on Earth. It is the first privately owned spaceship to reach the ISS.
Privco's numbers are based on the launch of the successful mission, coupled with current and future contracts with NASA to resupply the ISS. These mission pay out $133 million per trip. SpaceX also has 55 launches planned in the next five years, most of them for commercial satellites. The total value of these contracts is over $4 billion, so we are not seeing an inflated valuation that we have seen with so many tech stocks.
It is certainly a full schedule, but SpaceX still wants to do more. They are trying to get a contract with NASA to bring astronauts to and from the space station by 2015. This would be a big step if NASA put that kind of trust in a privately held firm.
SpaceX still considers themselves to be in the developmental stages, so don't expect an IPO anytime soon. According to spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham, SpaceX is currently trying to get into an organized rhythm with their launch schedule. An IPO will certainly be on the horizon, but not before many successful missions demonstrate the company's staying power.
Silicon Valley powerhouse Elon Musk, who co-founded PayPal and Tesla Motors, has invested $100 million of his $2 billion net worth into SpaceX, giving him a controlling stake of 85% of the company. This guy really knows how to turn his money around, and does it in probably the coolest way possible.