Private space companies launch rockets that propel satellites (and eventually, people) into space without government funds or bureaucracy.
Leaving government out of space removes political influence, simplifies space commercialization, and reduces costs.
Elon Musk has a fondness for starting businesses that do the impossible.
At first, there was PayPal. At that time, accepting credit-cards over the internet was an expensive, laborious process. Basically, card service providers — who processed credit-cards — for individuals and small businesses were nasty people offering poor service, odious contract terms, and sky-high fees. Correspondingly, ordinary banks refused to work with businesses without a physical storefront and, even then, fees were still expensive.
Elon Musk started an early online bank, x.com. Eventually, it merged with “competitor,” Confinity. Musk, as the lead shareholder, became CEO. Confinity was working on software to beam money from one Palm Pilot to another branded PayPal. Subsequently, Musk changed the focus to online technology. Soon after, the company replaced him as CEO with Peter Thiel over a technology disagreement.
Musk focuses on building new companies in old industries that seldom change. PayPal challenged and changed banking. Tesla, his electric car company, challenged and changed automakers. SpaceX decided to take on the largest, most entrenched business that exists, space. Long the work of governments, or contractors working for governments, Musk decided to launch a private space business.
After almost running out of money several times, SpaceX eventually flew rockets and today continues to launch them. Furthermore, SpaceX rockets are largely reusable making them significantly less expensive than other rockets. As of 2019, SpaceX rockets are the only American rockets in use. However, Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is working on a reusable private rocket. Conversely, The “United Launch Alliance” (ULA) is a consortium of long-term US military contractors. However, they use non-reusable rockets purchased from the Russian Federation.
SpaceX dramatically lowers costs and increases speed. Musk’s SpaceX allows companies to launch and deploy satellites faster than any government-run space agency could. His use of reusable rockets, especially, as well as rockets that can be bundled together into a heavy-lift rocket, promise to democratize space-based business endeavors.