SpaceX

Article

December 8, 2021

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., whose trade name is SpaceX, is an American manufacturer of aerospace, space transport and communications systems based in Hawthorne, California. SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the aim of reducing space transport costs to enable colonization of Mars. SpaceX manufactures Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, various types of rocket engines, Dragon cargo pods, manned spacecraft and Starlink communication satellites. SpaceX's achievements include the first privately funded liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 in 2008), the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (Dragon in 2010), the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Dragon in 2012), the first vertical take-off and vertical propulsive landing for an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2015), the first reuse of an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2017) and the first company to send astronauts to orbit and to the International Space Station (SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 in 2020). SpaceX has launched and reused the Falcon 9 series of rockets more than 100 times. SpaceX is developing a satellite megaconstellation called Starlink to provide commercial internet service. In January 2020, the Starlink constellation became the largest satellite constellation in the world. SpaceX is also developing the Starship, a privately funded, fully reusable, super-heavy launch system for interplanetary spaceflight. The Starship intends to become SpaceX's primary orbital vehicle once operational, supplanting the existing Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon fleet. The Starship will be fully reusable and will have the highest payload capacity of any orbital rocket already in its debut of its scheduled orbital flight in the first half of 2O22.

History

2001–2004: Foundation

In 2001, Elon Musk conceptualized the Mars Oasis, a project to land a miniature experimental greenhouse and grow plants on Mars. He announced that the project would be "as far as life has ever traveled" in an attempt to regain public interest in space exploration and increase NASA's budget. Musk tried to buy cheap rockets from Russia, but he returned empty-handed after he couldn't find affordable rockets. On the flight home, Musk realized he could start a company that could build the affordable rockets he needed. By applying vertical integration, using inexpensive commercial components available on the market where possible, and adopting the modular approach of modern software engineering, Musk believed that SpaceX could significantly reduce the launch price. In early 2002, Musk began looking for staff to his new space company, which would soon be called SpaceX. Musk approached rocket engineer Tom Mueller (later SpaceX's CTO of propulsion) and invited him to become his business partner. Mueller agreed to work for Musk, and SpaceX was born. SpaceX was initially headquartered at a warehouse in El Segundo, California. As of November 2005, the company had 160 employees. Musk personally interviewed and approved all early SpaceX employees, even convincing Larry Page to transfer a Google employee from San Francisco to Los Angeles so that the employee's wife, a potential SpaceX hire, could take over. One of your goals with SpaceX is to lower the cost and improve the reliability of space access, ultimately by a factor of ten.

2005–2009: Falcon 1 and first orbital launches

SpaceX developed its first boom vehicle

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