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

January 24, 2021
SpaceX launches 143 spacecraft into space.
January 11, 2021
Elon Musk launches SpaceX Starlink internet in the UK.
November 15, 2020
The SpaceX Crew-1 successfully launches from Kennedy Space Center en route to the International Space Station.
November 5, 2020
SpaceX successfully launches a GPS III satellite on a Falcon 9 for the US Space Force.

September 3, 2020
SpaceX targets another Starlink launch Thursday to continue record pace

However, given the number of planned launches for the rest of the year, it seems plausible SpaceX will launch 25 or more rockets in 2020.

September 3, 2020
SpaceX launches 12th Starlink mission, says users getting 100 Mbps downloads
August 31, 2020
SpaceX successfully launches its first polar orbit mission from Florida
August 18, 2020
SpaceX raises $1.9 billion in new funding, according to a regulatory filing on.

June 30, 2020
SpaceX successfully launches an updated GPS satellite for the US Space Force.
May 30, 2020
SpaceX launches its first human crew to space for NASA on the company's new Crew Dragon spacecraft.
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Funding rounds

Funding round
Funding type
Funding round amount (USD)
Funding round date
Investment
SpaceX Series B round
30,435,000
August 11, 2009
13 Results
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Products

Product
Description
Launch date
Website
Industry
Starlink

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

4 Results
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People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

Elon Musk

CEO

Principal Mars Development Engineer

Thomas Mueller

Propulsion CTO

Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

NASA and SpaceX

NASA / James Cawley

Web Blog

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

Arabsat-6A

4/11/2019

Companies

Company
CEO
Location
Products/Services

News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Eric Berger
January 25, 2021
Ars Technica
It's only been about six weeks since SN8 flew.
Reuters
January 25, 2021
NBC News
A veteran rocket from billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX aerospace company launched 143 spacecraft into space on Sunday, a new record.
CNN
January 25, 2021
CTVNews
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried 143 satellites into orbit on a jam-packed rideshare mission Sunday, setting a new world record for the most satellites launched by a single rocket.
Phase Four
January 25, 2021
www.prnewswire.com:443
/PRNewswire/ -- Phase Four, the creator of the radio-frequency thruster (RFT) for satellite propulsion, announced today that two small satellites powered by...
DNA Web Team
January 25, 2021
DNA India
Elon Musk's SpaceX launches 143 satellites on single rocket, sets world record - SpaceX broke the record previously held by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which launched 104 satellites in 2017.
Reuters
January 25, 2021
The Hindu
SpaceX has previously launched to orbit more than 800 satellites of the several thousand needed to offer broadband internet globally, a $10 billion investment it estimates could generate $30 billion annually to help fund Musk's interplanetary rocket program, called Starship.
January 25, 2021
The Indian Express
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 10 a.m. EST from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Peter Aitken
January 24, 2021
Fox News
This marks the fifth mission for the Transporter-1 booster.
GHGSat
January 24, 2021
www.prnewswire.com:443
/PRNewswire/ - GHGSat, the global leader in high-resolution greenhouse gas monitoring from space, has successfully completed the launch of its third satellite,...
Darrell Etherington
January 24, 2021
TechCrunch
SpaceX has set a new all-time record for the most satellites launched and deployed on a single mission, with its Transporter-1 flight on Sunday. The launch was the first of SpaceX's dedicated rideshare missions, in which it splits up the payload capacity of its rocket among multiple customers, resulting in a reduced cost for each [...]
Ben Winck
January 24, 2021
Business Insider
The mix of commercial and government satellites deployed in the mission made for the largest-ever payload for a single launch.
Joey Roulette
January 24, 2021
The Verge
SpaceX's debut mission under its new SmallSat Rideshare Program breaks the record for the most satellites launched in a single flight.
Darrell Etherington
January 24, 2021
TechCrunch
SpaceX is set to launch the very first of its dedicated rideshare missions - an offering it introduced in 2019 that allows small satellite operators to book a portion of a payload on a Falcon 9 launch. SpaceX's rocket has a relatively high payload capacity compared to the size of many of the small satellites [...]
Amanda Perelli
January 23, 2021
Business Insider
SpaceX is looking to drill wells close to the company's Boca Chica launchpad in Texas. It's unclear what exactly the gas would be used for.
Kevin Shalvey
January 23, 2021
Business Insider
Elon Musk's SpaceX on Saturday scrubbed its plan to launch a transporter with 143 satellites, saying it would try again Sunday.
Darrell Etherington
January 23, 2021
TechCrunch
SpaceX is set to launch the very first of its dedicated rideshare missions - an offering it introduced in 2019 that allows small satellite operators to book a portion of a payload on a Falcon 9 launch. SpaceX's rocket has a relatively high payload capacity compared to the size of many of the small satellites produced [...]
Kate Duffy
January 23, 2021
Business Insider
A Starlink user living in rural England said the internet has dropped out a few times but it's not a problem for people living in a rural location.
Ishan Patra
January 23, 2021
The Hindu
Here's our curated list of important tech news from this week in byte size.
Joey Roulette
January 23, 2021
The Verge
A SpaceX subsidiary is locked in a legal fight over a plot of land in Texas, near SpaceX's Starship testing facility. The process could take several months to resolve.
Eric Berger
January 22, 2021
Ars Technica
Party in the payload bay: 143 total satellites deployed in a dozen waves.
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References

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