Why billionaires keep pouring money into the space industry

“It’s becoming more of a mainstream place for more financially focused” venture capitalists, said Carissa Christensen, Bryce’s founder and chief executive. “They are in it not because space is cool, but because they think this a place to generate serious return.”

.. For years, the industry was fueled by the vast fortunes of a few billionaires. Musk invested $100 million of his own money into SpaceX before capturing several billions of dollars in government contracts.

.. Last year, Jeffrey P. Bezos described the investment model for his space company, Blue Origin, this way: “I sell about $1 billion a year of Amazon stock, and I use it to invest in Blue Origin.”

.. Richard Branson has backed Virgin Galactic and a satellite company called OneWeb, while Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, is building what would be the world’s largest airplane by wingspan to “air-launch” rockets.

.. More recently, Mark Cuban invested $500,000 into a company called Relativity Space, which plans to 3-D print an entire rocket. Astranis, which intends to use small satellites to beam Internet to places off Earth’s power grid, recently announced that it was being backed by Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

.. The growing market has also captured the interest of the Trump administration, which has vowed to expand the partnerships with the private sector that began under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. During Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, Trump lauded SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and took a shot at NASA, saying that if the government built a similar rocket, it “would have cost probably 40 or 50 times” what SpaceX charges.