SpaceX is moving ride-sharing to outer space.

Taking a hint from fellow unicorn Uber, Elon Musk’s rocket launching company is starting a service it says will keep it at the head of the private space industry while enabling smaller companies to launch satellites cheaply.

Small satellite companies will hitch rides on SpaceX’s Falcon 9, the most frequently launched commercial rocket last year. “This certainly reduces the costs for the customers,’’ Haim Baruh, professor at Rutgers University’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering program, told Karma.

“This is good for SpaceX and the space community as a whole,” he said.

  • “The government isn’t going to allow everyone to individually to launch their rockets,” Baruh said. “You have to make a tremendous investment to be able to launch your satellites into space.” 
  • SpaceX launches start at $2.25 million. In case of delays, the program’s flexibility allows companies to “apply 100% of monies paid towards the cost of rebooking on a subsequent mission.”
  • “With competitors in Reliance, the European Space Agency, Russia, and China in the space race, SpaceX has found a way to reduce the cost of launching for smaller space companies. This can be bigger in the near future, with the number of satellites in space growing rapidly,” Baruh said. 
  • Karma Takeaway: With its new ride-sharing model for satellite operators, SpaceX finds a way to lend a hand to newer companies in the market and gain an advantage over the larger ones.