SpaceX is an aerospace manufacturer based in the USA. The company's full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp. The company operates the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Starship launch vehicles, as well as the Starlink satellite constellation.
SpaceX was established in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who wanted to build a transport system to Mars. His original project was called Mars Oasis, an experimental miniature greenhouse that would grow plants on Mars. After failing to find a cheap enough rocket to launch his experiment, Musk decided to start his own rocket company.
SpaceX was established using a "vertical integration" approach, meaning that the company would design, manufacture and have complete ownership of everything in the supply chain. In other words, it wouldn't rely on any other company to supply products. This is in contrast to NASA and other aerospace organizations of the time, that typically had many suppliers.
Falcon 1 was the first orbital launch vehicle for SpaceX. Its first three flights (2006 - 2008) ended in failure, nearly bankrupting the company. The first successful flight was on 28 September 2008. NASA then awarded SpaceX a contract to deliver supplies to the International Space Station using the Falcon 9 rocket1. From this point, SpaceX continued to grow its launch cadence and customer base.
SpaceX is heavily involved in the commercial launch market and has a well-established launch routine with Falcon 9. As well as serving customers, SpaceX is heavily invested in the well-known Starlink satellites.
The next big goal for SpaceX is the Starship, a reusable heavy lift vehicle capable of interplanetary travel.
Falcon Heavy is still an option but will be replaced by Starship.
- Name: Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)
- Established: 6 May 2002
- Founder: Elon Musk
- Headquarters: Texas, United States
- www.spacex.com Official home page
Footnotes & References
1. This contract was part of NASA's new Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program, in which routine delivery launches were moved from NASA's own launch vehicles to the private sector.