INTERNATIONAL - Early on Tuesday morning this week at Cape Canaveral, employees of Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. rejoiced.
A Falcon Heavy delivered 24 satellites into three distinct orbits while the rocket’s twin boosters landed safely back on Earth almost simultaneously. Apart from the failure of the center booster to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, the mission that Musk had described as SpaceX’s toughest test yet had been a success.
The launch underscores SpaceX’s status as one of the world’s most valuable closely held companies. It’s worth $34 billion, according to an analysis by EquityZen, a marketplace for shares of tech firms that haven’t yet gone public.
While investors are clamoring for a piece of Musk’s space company, they’ve been less sanguine lately about the fortunes of his publicly traded Tesla Inc. Shares of the electric carmaker have tumbled 33% this year amid concern that consumer demand is slackening and competition stiffening.
The divergence has reshaped one of the world’s biggest fortunes. Musk is the world’s 41st richest person with a net worth of $22.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. SpaceX now makes up two-thirds of his wealth, with Tesla accounting for most of the remaining third. That’s a reversal from previous years where Tesla was responsible for the bulk of his fortune on Bloomberg’s ranking.
SpaceX’s success still hasn’t been enough to completely offset the decline in Musk’s wealth this year. It has dropped by $1.7 billion.