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

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

February 2018

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

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.

November 8, 2010

SpaceX raises a $50,000,000 series C round from DFJ and Founders Fund.

August 11, 2009

SpaceX raises a $30,435,000 series B round from DFJ and Scott Banister.

August 1, 2008

SpaceX raises a $20,000,000 series A round from Founders Fund.

May 6, 2002

founding of SpaceX

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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News

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Date
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Description
Eric Berger
April 7, 2020
Ars Technica
On Tuesday, the first version of Dragon completed its 20th and final mission.
Darrell Etherington
April 7, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX and NASA are in the process of final preparations prior to launching their first crewed spaceflight mission - Demo-2, which is technically still a demonstration mission needed to validate SpaceX's Crew Dragon for transporting humans during regular flight. But actual astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be on board the historic flight, which [...]
Darrell Etherington
April 7, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX has been resupplying the International Space Station (ISS) since it began flying cargo missions on behalf of NASA in 2012. Now, the version of the Dragon capsule that SpaceX first employed to fly those missions is retiring, after one of the spacecraft based on that design splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday [...]
Eric Berger
April 3, 2020
Ars Technica
"We intend to the maximum extent possible to stay on track."
Darrell Etherington
April 2, 2020
TechCrunch
NASA and SpaceX are moving ahead full-steam with the Demo-2 launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft - the first launch to carry astronauts to space aboard a private launch vehicle from American soil. The Falcon 9 rocket that will propel the Crew Dragon to space will include a NASA logo that has been - technically [...]
John Xavier
April 2, 2020
The Hindu
Today's cache is your daily download of the top 5 updates from the world of technology.
Munsif Vengattil
April 1, 2020
U.S.
Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX has banned its employees from using video conferencing app Zoom, citing "significant privacy and security concerns," according to a memo seen by Reuters, days after U.S. law enforcement warned users about the security of the popular app.
Eric Berger
March 31, 2020
Ars Technica
The new document does not include pricing information for Starship, alas.
Darrell Etherington
March 31, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX is readying for its first flight with astronauts on board - Demo-2, which is technically the last demonstration mission that is required before the Crew Dragon capsule is officially certified to start flying regular missions. Demo-2's mission scope has been adjusted somewhat so that astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be actually doing [...]
Jon Brodkin
March 30, 2020
Ars Technica
OneWeb says pandemic ended chance of getting enough funding for full launch.
Joey Roulette
March 27, 2020
U.S.
NASA on Friday picked a new space capsule from Elon Musk's SpaceX to ferry cargo and supplies to the agency's planned lunar space station, a crucial building block to its plans to build a permanent post on the moon and mount future missions to Mars.
Eric Berger
March 27, 2020
Ars Technica
"This is another critical piece of our plan to return to the Moon sustainably."
Kirsten Korosec
March 26, 2020
TechCrunch
Two Tesla employees, who had been working at home for nearly two weeks, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an internal email sent Thursday morning by the company's head of environmental, health, and safety department and viewed by TechCrunch . The employees were not symptomatic in the office, and both are quarantined at home [...]
Darrell Etherington
March 24, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX has thus far managed to avoid much in the way of impact to its upcoming launch schedule, despite the widespread global coronavirus pandemic. The company successfully launched 60 more of its Starlink satellites just last week, and appears to be on track for its current mid-to-late May launch schedule for the first Commercial Crew [...]
March 21, 2020
news.google.com
The mission called Demo-2 will mark the second flight to the International Space Station (ISS) for the Crew Dragon.
Morgan Phillips
March 19, 2020
Fox News
Elon Musk's SpaceX will launch U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time since 2011.
Chris Ciaccia
March 16, 2020
Fox News
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama would be moving to Stage 3 in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic shaking the globe.
Stephanie Mlot
March 16, 2020
Geek.com
SpaceX on Sunday scrubbed the launch of 60 new Starlink satellites at the last second--due to an engine power issue with the mission's Falcon 9 rocket. The onboard computer triggered an abort just ...
Darrell Etherington
March 15, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX was attempting to launch its sixth batch of Starlink internet broadband satellites, but the launch was aborted when the countdown timer reached zero. On the live feed of the launch, SpaceX engineers were heard to cite a "launch abort on high engine power," and the announcer presenting the webcast said that it was indeed [...]
Darrell Etherington
March 15, 2020
TechCrunch
SpaceX is launching its latest Starlink mission today, with a takeoff time of 9:22 AM EDT (6:22 AM PDT) currently scheduled to take place at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch will carry 60 more Starlink broadband internet satellites to their low Earth orbit destination, using a Falcon 9 rocket with a booster that [...]
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