Space Exploration Technologies Corporation

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SpaceX logo
Logo of SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or more commonly SpaceX, is a space transport company based in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, who also founded PayPal. The company develops rockets that can lift cargo into space, fly it to the International Space Station (ISS), and safely return cargo back to Earth. In December of 2010, it became the first private corporation to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft. In May of 2012 it was the first private company to send a cargo to the ISS, and it returned.[1]

Besides working for NASA, SpaceX will launch satellites for the military, private companies, and other countries. In 2009 it already launched a low earth orbiting satellite.[2] The company plans to launch its first commercial satellite for geostationary orbit in 2013.

Launch vehicles and spacecraft[change | change source]

SpaceX Dragon is grabbed by the ISS robotic arm

One of SpaceX's recent inventions was the Falcon rocket, which were built to be reusable. The standard in the rocket industry is to either leave these rockets in space or destroy them on their return to Earth, because sufficient technology wasn't available. SpaceX is recognized in the industry for creating that technology. This allows manufacturers to spend less money and materials creating materials, so the cost of space flight becomes significantly cheaper. SpaceX's current version of the rocket is Falcon 9. These rockets can be used by themselves, or they can be used as boosters, which are rockets that are attached to a larger one. An example of this is the Falcon Heavy, which is a rocket that uses two Falcon 9 boosters that are placed on either side. Its first flight was on February 6th, 2018, when it used two Falcon 9 boosters that had previously flown.

SpaceX also built the Dragon spacecraft, which is filled with equipment and supplies for the astronauts on the ISS. The capsule is put on one of the Falcon rockets (because the Dragon does not have big enough rockets to fly to space on its own) and flown into orbit. From orbit it separates from the boosters, then the capsule uses its own smaller rockets to get to the ISS. Then the capsule is filled up with old equipment, the results of science experiments, and garbage. It then reenters the Earth's atmosphere and parachutes into the ocean.

SpaceX designs, builds, and tests its components inside SpaceX itself, not other companies. Because they don't need to pay other companies, SpaceX spends less money when they create their rockets. Some things SpaceX has made by itself includes the Merlin, Kestrel, and Draco rocket engines used on the Falcon launch vehicles and the Dragon spacecraft.

Future projects include a NASA robotic mission to Mars in 2018, and the Big Falcon Rocket.

Musk has stated that his intention for the company is to help in the creation of a permanent human presence on Mars.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Chang, Kenneth (25 May 2012). "Space X Capsule Docks at Space Station". New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  2. Rowe, Aaron (2009-07-14). "SpaceX Launch Successfully Delivers Satellite Into Orbit". Wired Science. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 

Other websites[change | change source]