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SpaceX

SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California.

SpaceX was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has since developed the Falcon launch vehicle family and the Dragon spacecraft family, which both currently deliver payloads into Earth's orbit.

The Dragon resupply mission represented the first reflight of a commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station.

SpaceX was formed in the hopes of revolutionizing the aerospace industry and making affordable spaceflight a reality. The company entered the arena with the Falcon 1 rocket, a two-stage liquid-fueled craft designed to send small satellites into orbit. The Falcon 1 was vastly cheaper to build and operate than its competitors, a field largely populated by spacecraft built by publicly owned and government-funded companies such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Part of the rocket’s cost-effectiveness was made possible by the SpaceX-developed Merlin engine, a cheaper alternative to those used by other companies. SpaceX also focused on making reusable rockets (other launch vehicles are generally made for one-time use).

In March 2006 SpaceX made its first Falcon 1 launch, which began successfully but ended prematurely because of a fuel leak and fire. By this time, however, the company had already earned millions of dollars in launching orders, many of them from the U.S. government. In August of that year SpaceX was a winner of a NASA competition for funds to build and demonstrate spacecraft that could potentially service the ISS after the decommissioning of the space shuttle. Falcon 1 launches that failed to attain Earth orbit followed in March 2007 and August 2008, but in September 2008 SpaceX became the first privately owned company to send a liquid-fueled rocket into orbit. Three months later it won a NASA contract for servicing the ISS that was worth more than $1 billion.

In 2010 SpaceX first launched its Falcon 9, a bigger craft so named for its use of nine engines, and the following year it broke ground on a launch site for the Falcon Heavy, a craft the company hoped would be the first to break the $1,000-per-pound-to-orbit cost barrier and that might one day be used to transport astronauts into deep space. In December 2010 the company reached another milestone, becoming the first commercial company to release a spacecraft—the Dragon capsule—into orbit and successfully return it to Earth. Dragon again made history on May 25, 2012, when it became the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS, to which it successfully delivered cargo. In August that year, SpaceX announced that it had won a contract from NASA to develop a successor to the space shuttle that would transport astronauts into space.

The Falcon 9 was designed so that its first stage could be reused. In 2015 a Falcon 9 first stage successfully returned to Earth near its launch site. Beginning in 2016, SpaceX also began using drone ships for rocket stage landings. A rocket stage that had returned to Earth was successfully reused in a 2017 launch. That same year, a Dragon capsule was reused on a flight to the ISS. The Falcon Heavy rocket had its first test flight in 2018. Two of the three first stages landed successfully; the third hit the water near the drone ship. That Falcon Heavy did not carry a satellite but instead placed into orbit around the Sun a Tesla Roadster with a mannequin in a space suit buckled into the driver’s seat.

The first crewed flight of a Dragon capsule to the ISS was scheduled for 2019. SpaceX also announced the successor to the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy: the Super Heavy–Starship system (originally called the BFR [Big Falcon Rocket]). The Super Heavy first stage would be capable of lifting 100,000 kg (220,000 pounds) to low Earth orbit. The payload would be the Starship, a spacecraft designed for several purposes, including providing fast transportation between cities on Earth and building bases on the Moon and Mars. SpaceX planned to use the Starship for a flight around the Moon carrying Japanese businessman Maezawa Yusaku and several artists in 2023 and to launch settlers to Mars in the mid-2020s.

Timeline

May 5, 2021
SpaceX launches and successfully lands its futuristic Starship, finally nailing a test flight of the rocketship that Elon Musk intends to use to land astronauts on the moon and send people to Mars.
April 29, 2021
SpaceX launches another batch of Starlink satellites, adding 60 more to the constellation on orbit.
April 23, 2021
SpaceX launches its third crew to the International Space Station, this time using a recycled rocket and capsule
April 16, 2021
NASA has selected SpaceX to build a Lunar lander to take humans to the moon.

SpaceX beat out two other US-based firms for the $2900000000 contract. NASA was expected to select two finalists - as it did with its commercial crew programme - it has only awarded SpaceX a continuing contract.

April 14, 2021
Elon Musk's SpaceX raises $1.16 billion in equity financing
April 2021
SpaceX raises a $1,200,000,000 venture round.
March 30, 2021
SpaceX launches The stainless-steel vehicle, known as SN11, on a test flight from SpaceX's South Texas facilities, near the Gulf Coast village of Boca Chica.
February 22, 2021
SpaceX announces second crew member of its all-civilian space mission.
February 16, 2021
SpaceX launches 60 more satellites for its Starlink service on the heels of opening up access
February 2021
SpaceX raises a $849,999,701 venture round.
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Funding rounds

Funding round
Funding type
Funding round amount (USD)
Funding round date
Investment
SpaceX Series G round, January 2015
1,000,000,000
January 2015
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Products

Product
Description
Website
Industry
Launch date

Starlink is a constellation of satellites that will orbit in low Earth and provide internet to rural areas.

2020

Spacecraft developed by spacex, designed for both manned and unmanned missions

Family of two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicles designed and manufactured by spacex

Space launch vehicle developed by SpaceX

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People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

CEO

Principal Mars Development Engineer

Thomas Mueller

Propulsion CTO

Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

NASA and SpaceX

NASA / James Cawley

Web Blog

Companies

Company
CEO
Location
Products/Services

News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Mike Wall, SPACE.com
May 6, 2021
Scientific American
Scientific American is the essential guide to the most awe-inspiring advances in science and technology, explaining how they change our understanding of the world and shape our lives.
Science X staff
May 6, 2021
phys.org
NASA and Boeing are now targeting July 30 for an uncrewed test flight of the aerospace company's troubled Starliner capsule to the International Space Station, they announced Thursday.
BY SETH BORENSTEIN
May 6, 2021
news.yahoo.com
Cutting the super-potent greenhouse gas methane quickly and dramatically is the world's best hope to slow and limit the worst of global warming, a new United...
DNA Web Team
May 6, 2021
DNA India
SpaceX successfully launches its newest and biggest rocket SN15 in fifth attempt - The test flight of the Starship SN15 prototype was conducted on Wednesday at about 5:24 PM local time from SpaceX's seaside launch pad in Boca Chica.
Reuters
May 6, 2021
Fox News
SpaceX achieved the first successful touchdown of its prototype Starship rocket during the latest test flight of the next-generation launch vehicle in south Texas on Wednesday, after four previous landing attempts ended in explosions.
Associated Press
May 6, 2021
the Guardian
Previous test flights of the rocketship, which Elon Musk plans to use for future missions to the moon and mars, ended in explosions
Issam Ahmed
May 6, 2021
phys.org
SpaceX managed to land its prototype Starship rocket at its Texas base without blowing it up on Wednesday, the first time it has succeeded in doing so in five attempts.
Simon Sharwood
May 6, 2021
go.theregister.com
There was just a little fire. But not enough to worry anybody
The Associated Press
May 6, 2021
NBC News
SpaceX on Wednesday launched and successfully landed its Starship, which is intended to carry astronauts one day.
The Associated Press
May 6, 2021
CTVNews
SpaceX launched and successfully landed its futuristic Starship on Wednesday, finally nailing a test flight of the rocketship that Elon Musk intends to use to land astronauts on the moon and send people to Mars.
Sky
May 6, 2021
Sky News
A prototype of SpaceX's Starship rocket touches down safely for the first time, after four previous attempts ended in explosions.
Steve Gorman
May 6, 2021
news.yahoo.com
SpaceX achieved the first successful touchdown of its prototype Starship rocket during the latest test flight of the next-generation launch vehicle in south ...
By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
May 5, 2021
Chron
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- SpaceX launched and successfully landed its futuristic...
Joey Roulette
May 6, 2021
The Verge
SpaceX successfully landed its SN15 Starship prototype on Wednesday, overcoming a major development hurdle in Elon Musk's Mars rocket test campaign.
May 6, 2021
The Indian Express
The previous four tests flights ended in fiery explosions before, during or soon after touchdown at the southeastern tip of Texas, near Brownsville.
May 6, 2021
mint
The milestone achievement paves the way for more ambitious tests of a rocket that SpaceX founder Elon Musk envisions as a future workhorse for trips to the moon and Mars
MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer
May 5, 2021
ABC News
SpaceX has finally launched and successfully landed its futuristic Starship
Jonathan Amos - BBC Science Correspondent
May 6, 2021
news.yahoo.com
The rocket concept chosen by Nasa to land astronauts on the Moon completes an impressive test flight.
MARCIA DUNN
May 5, 2021
news.yahoo.com
SpaceX launched and successfully landed its futuristic Starship on Wednesday, finally nailing a test flight of the rocketship that Elon Musk intends to use...
John Timmer
May 5, 2021
Ars Technica
Given that it's meant to be the basis for a lunar lander, landing it is good.
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References

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