The SpaceX (and Tesla) masterplan (Part 1)

SpaceX will be the ISP for the globe and Tesla will be their first customer.

Gavin Sheridan
8 min readJul 16, 2017


(This is a followup post to (now) four earlier posts on forecasting.

  • The first in May 2015 forecast both blimp-based and dedicated building-based drone deployments (later patented by Amazon);
  • The second in October 2015 largely predicted Elon Musk’s Tesla Masterplan Part Deux by 9 months
  • The third in July 2016 among other things correctly hypothesised the use of Model X falcon wings for future possible Tesla bus designs.
  • The fourth was yesterday on SpaceX telecoms plans. This is the expanded version.
  • I try to get it mostly right but I mainly love the idle speculation).

In the mode of Elon, I propose to outline what I think SpaceX will do over the next decade, how that intersects with Tesla’s strategy of building a sustainable energy future (combined with sustainable transport) and ultimately how that fits in with making humanity a multi-planetary species.

There are a number of moving pieces to this strategy and I can’t cover them all in one blog post, but I will try to distill it down to three distinct parts.

  1. Create a space company to reduce the cost of orbital delivery
  2. Deploy an orbital ISP and get billions of customers (The X in SpaceX?)
  3. Use meta-material antennas everywhere (including Mars), creating synergies with autonomous transport systems/sustainable transport

There is far more to this, and as ever with making forecasts like this, it carries lots of provisos.

Part one

This part of the plan is already well underway.

SpaceX continues to successfully recover its first stage when the flight configuration allows it. It is increasing its stock of used-at-least-once first stages. These first stages will also double as boosters for its heavy lift rocket the Falcon Heavy when it’s due to launch later this year.

Landed first stage Falcon 9.

The cadence for launches is already impressive this year, after a couple of launch failures. All of this contributes to reducing the overall…



Gavin Sheridan

Founder/CEO @Vizlegal | FOI, journalism, law, data | Former Innovation Dir @Storyful | Dublin, Ireland