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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 Launch Vehicles:

Name
Mass to LEO
Mass to GTO

Falcon 1 [no longer in production]

420kg (926 lb)

N/A

Falcon 1e [proposed - never flown]

1010kg (2220 lb)

N/A

Falcon 9

22,800kg (50,265 lb)

8,300kg (18,300 lb)

63,800kg (140,660 lb)

26,700kg (58,860 lb)

Starship [in development]

100,000+ kg (220,000+ lb)

N/A



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 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's Falcon Heavy launched its first commercial mission from Florida.

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.

April 2019

As Elon Musk's SpaceX closes in on the possible cause of a fiery explosion in April that destroyed one of its astronaut capsules, a company executive said on Monday its plan to launch humans into space this year looked "increasingly difficult.

August 7, 2018

SpaceX successfully launched and landed used Falcon 9’s first stage booster from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:18AM ET.





February 2018

SpaceX launched the car on a test flight of its Heavy rocket.

February 2018

SpaceX launches two Starlink test satellites, dubbed Tintin A and B

2016

In 2016, another SpaceX rocket exploded, destroying a $200 million communications satellite on board, and Mr. Musk was criticized for moving too quickly in the complex industry of space travel.

2014

NASA awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co $6.8 billion to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station.

NASA has relied on Russia to carry out manned space flights since it retired its space shuttles in 2011.

May 6, 2002

founding of SpaceX

Funding rounds

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Products

Product
Description
Industry
Website
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

Elon Musk

CEO



President



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

Companies

Company
CEO
Location
Products/Services









News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Jonathan Shieber
February 28, 2020
TechCrunch
In a wide ranging discussion at the Air Warfare Symposium held by the U.S. Air Force, Elon Musk touched on some old and new themes, but one highlight of the discussion was the small window into hiring and firing practices at SpaceX -- arguably one of the world's most demanding engineering companies. The company prides [...]
Eric Berger
February 28, 2020
Ars Technica
"It's pretty exhaustive. You gotta do that."
By James Pero For Dailymail.com
February 27, 2020
Mail Online
According to NASA, the aerospace company didn't perform a full 'end-to-end' integration test of the software designed to automate maneuvers after the craft is launched into space.
Steve Gorman
February 26, 2020
U.S.
SpaceX, the private rocket company of high tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, won final approval on Tuesday to build a research and manufacturing plant for its deep-space Starship project on a tract of vacant land at the Port of Los Angeles.
Darrell Etherington
February 24, 2020
TechCrunch
Max Q is a new weekly newsletter all about space. Sign up here to receive it weekly on Sundays in your inbox. Busy week for SpaceX - across funding, space tourism, and next-gen spacecraft. There's also a space station resupply mission coming up that it's getting ready for, and signs (this time literally) continue to [...]
William Akoto
February 22, 2020
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.
Reuters Editorial
February 21, 2020
U.S.
Elon Musk's SpaceX is looking to raise about $250 million, taking the private rocket company's valuation to about $36 billion, CNBC reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the financing.
Darrell Etherington
February 21, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has been sharing a number of updates about his company's progress on Starship this week. Along with footage of the assembly process of the current 'SN1' prototype of Starship, he explained on Twitter some of the other considerations and strategies the company is working with as it works on the new [...]
Eric Berger
February 21, 2020
Ars Technica
A ride to the Moon for under $10 million? That's quite a price.
Jonathan Shieber
February 20, 2020
TechCrunch
During the days when Snapchat's popularity was booming, investors thought the company would become the anchor for a new Los Angeles technology scene. Snapchat, they hoped, would spin-off entrepreneurs and angel investors who would reinvest in the local ecosystem and create new companies that would in turn foster more wealth, establishing LA as a hub [...]
Stephanie Mlot
February 19, 2020
Geek.com
SpaceX will fly private citizens into orbit as early as next year. Galactic tourism company Space Adventures has teamed up with Elon Musk's aerospace manufacturer to send up to four individuals* on the ...
Sky
February 19, 2020
Sky News
The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft will be used to take humans into space on a commercial basis.
Anthony Ha
February 17, 2020
TechCrunch
A once-mighty trivia app says goodbye, we try out Samsung's new foldable phone and Google shuts down its free Wi-Fi program in India. Not even Presidents' Day can stop your Daily Crunch.
Stephanie Mlot
February 18, 2020
Geek.com
SpaceX successfully launched its fifth batch of Starlink internet satellites into orbit on Monday. Following a 24-hour delay (due to an issue with a valve component on the rocket's second stage), Falcon 9 ...
Leah Crane
February 18, 2020
New Scientist
SpaceX and space tourism firm Space Adventures have announced a plan to fly paying customers into Earth orbit, higher than the International Space Station
By James Pero For Dailymail.com
February 18, 2020
Mail Online
SpaceAdventures and SpaceX say they may launch the first private citizen-chartered flight around Earth come as soon as late 2021 or early 2022 thanks to a new partnership.
Ronald Drimmel
February 18, 2020
Scientific American Blog Network
Thousands of planned new satellites could ruin a majestic view for billions of people
Darrell Etherington
February 17, 2020
TechCrunch
Max Q is a new weekly newsletter all about space. Sign up here to receive it weekly on Sundays in your inbox. This week turned out to be a surprisingly busy one in space news - kicked off by the Trump administration's FY 2021 budget proposal, which was generous to U.S. space efforts both in [...]
Eric Berger
February 17, 2020
Ars Technica
Company targeting a 30-day turnaround for Falcon 9 first stage reuse.
Darrell Etherington
February 17, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX is launching another batch of 60 Starlink satellites to join its existing constellation, which will bring the total to 300 and be the third Starlink launch this year already. The launch will also be a potentially record-setting demonstration of SpaceX's Falcon 9 reusability, with the shortest turnaround time for a Falcon 9 first stage [...]
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References