No, the railroad is analogous to the Falcon 9. Travel between the coasts was already in place, and the railroad only did it better. Satellites were already being launched, and Falcon 9 did it better. So SpaceX ate everyone else’s lunch and was profitable. Right now, there is no market beyond that - other than government prestige projects.
Are you serious? The Falcon 9 costs ~1000 a pound. Whatever the Falcon 9 can do, the BFR will do at a lower cost for ANY payload. At 20 dollars a pound, space will be extremely accessible. It will be very accessible at 200 dollars a pound - and that market will make SpaceX billions. The falcon 9 is like if the continental railroad stopped before the rockies. It’s still expensive and dangerous.
Right now, there is no market beyond that - other than government prestige projects.
This is just patently false. There is a market to take humans to low earth orbit for fun. It’s just that no one can cater to that market yet. Out of 7 billion people, do you really think that zero of them have the money and are willing to take the risk to experience going to space on a human-rated BFR rocket? At a ticket price of 15,000 dollars, 70% of the U.S. could save up to be able to afford to go: ~224 million people.
In the world it’s probably about another billion or two who could afford to go. If .1% of those people would be willing to pay for a ride, you still have a market of 220,000. Catering to those people would net you about 700 launches, and at a profit of ~5 million a launch, we’re talking a profit of 3.5 billion dollars. The market is probably higher and they can probably charge a lot more. This is the easiest market to cater to because you don’t have to actually leave anything in orbit or achieve a specific orbit. Just fly up and down, maybe for a few hours to a couple of days.
SpaceX will face the nearly impossible challenge of actually meeting demand. So, they’ll be able to charge a LOT for a long time and make billions of dollars, making them one of the most profitable companies in the world.
They’ll start out at like 20-30 launches a year on BFR at a profit of ~50-100 million, so ~1.8 billion dollars. The next year will be like 30-40 launches. That should go up to more like 60, 100, 150. The price they charge will drop as this number goes up.