A Historic Day for the New Space Economy

Nov 21, 2023
A Historic Day for the New Space Economy

With the remarkable SpaceX Starship launch, the birth of a new space economy is possible.

I was standing in the middle of a small diner in downtown Utica, NY on Saturday morning captivated and overcome by what was happening.

On the TV was the second test launch of the SpaceX Starship. And this time, the goal was not just to get off the ground, but to get to space.

I can’t imagine a better analog for launching my new business, Brownridge Research, and my first official issue of my — soon to be — daily e-letter Outer Limits. If you're reading this, welcome!

Starship Flight Test Liftoff
Liftoff! | Source: SpaceX on X

I tried to explain to the owner that this was a historic day. Nothing like this had ever been done before, and it would transform the world as we know it. I didn’t get a response, despite my excitement.

At the counter sat two other patrons who were also watching the launch over breakfast. One said, “Shouldn’t we be working on curing cancer instead of stuff like this?”

It’s a valid question. And it’s worth exploring, because it’s easy to mix up issues like this… 

Birth of the Space Economy

When most of us see something like this on TV, we don’t know who, or what is behind it. I’m sure many thought this was a government launch led by NASA.

That’s one of the things that made Saturday’s launch so special. It was entirely done by a private company, SpaceX, which is now valued around $150 billion. And the founder of the company is none other than Elon Musk.

To put this all into context, the combined SpaceX Super Heavy Booster with the Starship on top towers at a massive 397 feet (an American football field is 360 feet end zone to end zone).

The Super Heavy has 33 Raptor engines capable of producing 16.5 million pounds of thrust. That’s twice as much as NASA’s Space Launch System and the Saturn V used during the Apollo program.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, like this has ever been accomplished before. Projects like this are the domain of large nation states, not private companies. And yet SpaceX did it all by itself in the private sector with private funding. 

The goal of the test launch was to fire all 33 of the Raptor engines, demonstrate the hot separation of the Super Heavy with the Starship, and get the Starship to space. And that’s exactly what happened. Anything else would have been a bonus.

"Hot Stage Separation" | Source: SpaceX on X

The hot separation was stunning to watch. It’s called “hot” because it leaves three of the raptor engines burning in the Super Heavy booster, while the six Raptor engines on the Starship ignite.

By keeping the three engines ignited, it gives an “added boost” to the launch and increases the Starship’s payload to orbit by about 10%. (Note: “Payload” is the cargo contained within the Starship being launched to space — usually that means satellites, people, supplies, or other equipment for use in space.)

This added 10% to the payload is huge, and it also symbolic of why Saturday was such a historic moment.

The reason why space has been so inaccessible and only the domain of large governments has been the cost of developing aerospace technology and launching payloads into space. For perspective, here is what launch costs have looked like over time:

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket absolutely transformed the space industry. It’s launch costs per kilogram (kg) were more than 75% cheaper than the industry average over the last 20 years of more than $10,000 per kilogram.

The reason? SpaceX pushed the outer limits of aerospace engineering by making the launch booster reusable. This continued with the Falcon Heavy, and the same will be true of both the Super Heavy and Starship. That’s why SpaceX’s launch costs for payloads with the Starship will plummet yet again by more than 95% (when compared to the Falcon 9), ending somewhere between $50-100 per kilogram.

Imagine that, for less than the cost of a nice dinner out on the town, anyone will be able to launch a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of technology — or whatever they want! — into orbit. Unbelievable.

But we should ask, why is this so transformational? Why is this such an incredible development?  The answer is simple. At $50-100/kg, an entirely new space economy will be born. At those costs, both private companies and governments will be able to do things that simply weren’t possible before.

For example, as early as next year, Axiom Space will be launching the first module of what will become the first commercial space station in history. And again, Axiom is a private company, not a government entity.

And I couldn’t help but be reminded of the patron at the counter. What he doesn’t yet understand is the fact that this new space economy isn’t just about space tourism, or establishing a permanent lunar base…

It also means breakthroughs in the pharmaceutical industry through space-based manufacturing, for example. And so much more.

Not coincidentally, another private company, Varda Space Industries, launched its first drug manufacturing spacecraft on a SpaceX Falcon 9 just this June. It’s the first of what will eventually be space-based manufacturing of drugs, some of which will be for the treatment of cancer. 

There are significant benefits of manufacturing compounds in zero gravity — a topic for another day.  What’s most relevant is that Varda is able to manufacture in space economically, and then return the finished product back to Earth for a safe retrieval.

With the SpaceX Starship launch, these developments are all possible. That’s one big reason why it mattered. That’s why it was a historic day.


The Starship mission was an incredible success. Despite a communications glitch after having reached space, the Starship completed stage separation and made it to a suborbital altitude — which was the intended goal.

And yet, with such an incredible development, the press wouldn’t have any of it.

I tired quickly of headlines like “SpaceX Starship launch failed…” 

Yet again all the major media outlets wanted Elon Musk’s head. 

It reminded me of his public flogging in the early days of his taking over X (formerly Twitter). Today, he continues to defend the frontline of freedom of speech, and has unbanned more scientists and professionals than I can count on the platform. 

And he’s doing this all while Google, Facebook, YouTube, and many others continue to silence scientific research that counters whatever the going narrative is — the narrative “they” are trying to push. 

Which is another reason why SpaceX’s successful launch is such a good analog for Brownridge and the launch of Outer Limits. I’m going to “go there.” It’s my shop. There is no one to censor me or modify my research prior to being published.

Together, we’re going to follow the data. We’re going to follow the research. And we’ll stay on top of the most interesting developments regardless of whether or not they fit the current narrative or not. We’ll be exploring the outer limits of high tech, biotech, monetary policy, fiscal policy, economic policy, and more...

We’re in a world of extremes right now. Very little makes sense. And we’ve learned the hard way — thanks again to Elon and the release of the Twitter files — that the government and the media had been colluding for years in an effort to control and manipulate the population and spread false narratives that were not founded in untainted, objective scientific research.

Very little is what it seems. And it is going to get worse.

But this I can say with certainty: We’re going to do our best in Outer Limits, and other research that I’ll publish, to make sense of it all. And I won’t hold back.

We’re in for a period of the worst chaos that we’ve seen in our lifetimes over the next several years. I know for many, this might sound scary…

And yet, what we also need to realize, is that at the same time it can feel like the world is falling apart, we’re going to see the most remarkable breakthroughs in medicine, genetic editing, aerospace, artificial intelligence, robotics, self-driving cars, nuclear fusion, augmented reality, and so much more. And that means there will be incredible investment opportunities along the way.

And that’s the purpose of Brownridge Research, to provide those insights, analysis, and research on incredible investment and profit opportunities for all investors. 

It’s wonderful to have you along for the ride. If you are a previous subscriber to my work, thank you for finding me, it’s great to reconnect. I feel like there is so much more work to be done given what’s coming.

And if you’re new, welcome. It’s great to have you along for the ride. Please feel free to forward Outer Limits along to friends and family. As I’m starting from scratch, I can use all the help I can get.

Going forward, on Fridays, I’m planning on a mailbag issue where I’ll take a few questions from subscribers and do my best to provide some insights. A mailbag helps keep me sharp and also lets me keep my finger on the pulse of what’s interesting to my subscribers.

In fact, please feel free to submit your comments, questions, and feedback already, right here. I’d love to hear from you, and I’m always grateful for the engagement. 

Lift off!!!


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