Carbon fiber report sparks SpaceX speculation

Image: Falcon Heavy launch
An artist’s conception shows a Falcon Heavy rocket lifting off for Mars. (Credit: SpaceX)

Is SpaceX planning to buy billions of dollars’ worth of carbon fiber for future Mars-bound spaceships? The answer’s up in the air, but a report to that effect from Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review has set SpaceX’s fans abuzz.

The report claims that SpaceX and Toray Industries, a Japan-based fiber manufacturer, are working on a multiyear deal that could eventually be worth $2 billion to $3 billion (200 billion to 300 billion yen). “The two sides are aiming to finalize the agreement this fall after hammering out prices, time frames and other terms,” Nikkei Asian Review’s Yuichiro Kanematsu reported.

No sources were cited in the report, and SpaceX downplayed any suggestion that a deal had been reached.

“Toray is one of a number of suppliers we work with to meet our carbon fiber needs for Falcon rocket and Dragon spacecraft production, and we haven’t announced any new agreements at this time,” SpaceX spokesman Phil Larson told GeekWire in a text. “As our business continues to grow, the amount of carbon fiber we use may continue to grow.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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