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2 billion rockets last year, estimates Jefferies

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, carrying the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, takes off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on April 11, 2019.

Thom Baur | Reuters

SpaceX has climbed to the top of the pitching industry over the last decade, generating more revenue than any other rocket company, according to Jefferies on Sunday.

"Although SpaceX is newer on the market, its lower price has allowed them to exceed estimated annual launch revenue," Jefferies analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu wrote in a note to investors in a "thorough" report.

Jefferies has announced the estimated revenues for 2018 from eight "heavy pitcher" companies, which compete in the most expensive part of the rocket market. The huge rockets, as tall as skyscrapers, cost between $ 62 million and $ 350 million. Jefferies presented the launch revenues of SpaceX, United Launch Alliance (also known as "ULA", jointly with Boeing and Lockheed Martin), Northrop Grumman, Arianespace in Europe, Khrunichev in Russia, ISRO in India and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan. Jefferies has also included Blue Origin as a competitor, although its New Glenn rocket is not expected to be launched until 2021.

SpaceX had $ 2 billion in launch revenue last year, the report says. In total, Jefferies estimated that the rockets of these companies would have generated revenues of about $ 8 billion in 2018.

Jefferies said SpaceX, as a relatively newcomer, had helped to introduce "a positive level of price competition for launchers' customers." These rockets are largely aimed at "a government market", previously dominated by ULA and international companies.

According to Jefferies, SpaceX is also the leader of the lucrative Air Force contracts expected in 2020. As part of the national security launch program by the military, officials will appoint two companies that will launch five-year satellites government. SpaceX, ULA, Northrop Grumman and Blue Origin are all competing for contracts. "Money means the winners" will also have a head start in developing a new launch system that could have applications for commercial uses, "Jefferies said.

With 25 launches, the Air Force announced that one company would win 15 missions, while the other would win the remaining 10 missions.

"The biggest strength of SpaceX is probably its price and track record," Jefferies said. "Given the current rate of launch, their business case will likely be the most solid given their ability to absorb overhead costs."

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