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 30, 2020

SpaceX launches its first human crew to space for NASA on the company's new Crew Dragon spacecraft.

May 22, 2020

SpaceX's first crewed spacecraft launch is officially cleared to proceed.

February 17, 2020

SpaceX successfully launches its fifth batch of Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

January 29, 2020

SpaceX launches 60 more satellites for its Starlink satellite internet constellation

September 21, 2019

SpaceX shares Starship progress update.

August 26, 2019

Starhopper didn’t succeed at first, but now it will try, try again.

A day after SpaceX's first attempt to launch the Starhopper test vehicle to an altitude of 150 meters, the company plans to try again.

June 25, 2019

Falcon Heavy launches STP-2 mission with Falcon Heavy

May 10, 2019

SpaceX postpones Starlink satellite launch again, for 'about a week'

April 12, 2019

SpaceX launches mega rocket, lands all 3 boosters

April 11, 2019

SpaceX launched its second supersized rocket and for the first time landed all three boosters Thursday, a year after sending up a sports car on the initial test flight.

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Funding rounds

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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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Principal Mars Development Engineer

Thomas Mueller

Propulsion CTO

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NASA and SpaceX

NASA / James Cawley

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Loren Grush
June 30, 2020
The Verge
After a two-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, SpaceX finally launched a new GPS satellite for the US Space Force out of Florida. This satellite will replace one of the older, less powerful GPS satellites currently in the system, part of an ongoing quest to update the 31-satellite GPS constellation.
By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com
June 30, 2020
Mail Online
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket took off from Kennedy Space Center carrying a US Space Force GPS satellite into orbit that will replace an older model that has been circling the Earth for 20 years.
Eric Berger
June 30, 2020
Ars Technica
SpaceX has gotten good enough at reuse that it's building fewer rockets.
Darrell Etherington
June 30, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX is set to launch a Falcon 9 rocket today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch is set to take place at 3:55 PM EDT (12:55 PM PDT), with a 15-minute window opening at that time, and there is a backup opportunity on Wednesday, July 1 if the launch needs to [...]
The Associated Press
June 29, 2020
CTVNews
The commander of the International Space Station said Monday that losing a mirror during last week's otherwise successful spacewalk was 'a real bummer.'
Eric Berger
June 26, 2020
Ars Technica
"We're not going to make it more dangerous than orbital flight."
By Ryan Morrison For Mailonline Afp
June 26, 2020
Mail Online
Space Adventures has signed an agreement with Russia's Energia space corporation to send someone 'into open space' from the Russian part of the ISS in 2023.
By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com
June 25, 2020
Mail Online
Bad weather could delay SpaceX's tenth launch of Starlink satellites into orbit. Isolated storms could bring heavy cloud cover and lightning, which would ground the Falcon 9 rocket June 26.
By Jonathan Chadwick For Mailonline
June 25, 2020
Mail Online
Footage has emerged of Boston Dynamics robotic dog, called Spot and released commercially last week, patrolling a SpaceX test site in the US.
June 22, 2020
News18
SpaceX had previously said that the trials for the Starlink satellites would begin within weeks.
Darrell Etherington
June 22, 2020
TechCrunch
Space tourism company Virgin Galactic has just revealed a novel extension of their business mode, through a new agreement signed with NASA enabled by the Space Act Agreement. The arrangement will see Virgin Galactic purchase seats on spacecraft bound for the orbiting International Space Station, as well as provide training and supplies and resources for [...]
Richard Luscombe in Miami
June 21, 2020
the Guardian
Boeing's first Starliner spacecraft on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. Photograph: Terry Renna/AP
Geoff Zochodne
June 19, 2020
Financial Post
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, participates in a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center on May 27, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.Saul Martinez/Getty Images files
Eric Berger
June 19, 2020
Ars Technica
"The launch and landing are not subtle."
Ars Staff
June 18, 2020
Ars Technica
"Axiom is working with Tom Cruise in the making of a movie," Jim Bridenstine said this week.
IANS
June 18, 2020
Sify
San Francisco, June 18 (IANS) Elon Musk is building floating spaceports at least 35 kms from the coastline and would be used for launching starship rockets to the Moon, mars and even hypersonic travel around Earth.
By Ryan Morrison For Mailonline
June 17, 2020
Mail Online
The technology safeguards agreement will let US firms contribute to and benefit from the £14.8 billion per year British space sector that employs 42,000 people.
Darrell Etherington
June 16, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX is hiring experts in Offshore Operations in Brownsville, job ads revealed on Tuesday - and the purpose is to help the company develop and build floating spaceports that will provide launch sites for the company's' Super Heavy-class launch vehicles. SpaceX will use these larger rockets to get its forthcoming large payload rockets to the [...]
Derick David  (@jeazous)
June 16, 2020
Medium
Starlink, of SpaceX, is a satellite constellation project being developed by Elon Musk and team to give satellite Internet go-to access for people in any part of the world. The heavenly body will...
Darrell Etherington
June 15, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX is in the process of building out its Starlink network of low Earth orbit small satellites that will provide the backbone of a global, high-bandwidth, low-latency internet service - but there's a clock running out in terms of at least one potential source of funding for it to recoup revenue from those efforts: The [...]
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References

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