Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is an American space technology company. The headquarters is in Hawthorne, California, USA. Founded in 2002 by former PayPal shareholder and CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, with the goal of cutting the cost of space travel and opening the way for the colonization of Mars.
The company has developed the Falcon 1, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, with the goal of making them reusable from the very beginning, and the Dragon spacecraft (launched into orbit by the same Falcon 9), intended for resupply at the International Space Station. On May 30, 2020, the first manned launch of the passenger version of the Dragon V2 spacecraft, designed to transport astronauts to the ISS, took place. Since 2015, he has also been involved in the implementation of the Hyperloop vacuum train project.
To control quality and development costs, most of the product components are manufactured and tested internally, including the Merlin, Kestrel, Draco and SuperDraco rocket engines used on Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon.
On March 24, 2006, the first Falcon 1 launch vehicle was launched for the company, which ended in an accident.
In August 2006, the company became one of the winners of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program competition and received a total of approximately $ 396 million in funding to develop and demonstrate the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft. The COTS contract was divided into 40 stages, each of which was paid separately. Its implementation lasted until 2012.
On September 28, 2008, the first successful launch of the Falcon 1 launch vehicle and the launch of the payload into orbit took place .
On December 22, 2008, SpaceX and NASA signed a contract under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program to supply the International Space Station in the amount of $ 1.6 billion. To the original 12 planned missions, 3 more were later added.
On June 4, 2010, the debut launch of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle was performed, and the Dragon mock-up was launched into orbit. On December 8, 2010, the Dragon spacecraft was launched into orbit for the first time. On May 25, 2012, the Dragon spacecraft was docked to the ISS Harmony module for the first time.
In 2011, SpaceX begins participating in NASA’s manned Commercial Crew Program. As part of this program, SpaceX signs a contract for the development of a manned spacecraft for $ 75 million in 2011 and for $ 440 million in 2012. On September 16, 2014, NASA announced the signing of a contract with SpaceX as part of the Commercial Crew Program for the delivery of astronauts to the ISS using the Dragon V2 manned spacecraft. The amount of the contract was $ 2.6 billion.
On June 28, 2015, an accident occurred when launching a Falcon 9 launch vehicle with a Dragon on board as part of the SpaceX CRS-7 ISS supply mission. The carrier rocket collapsed in the air 2 minutes 19 seconds after launch.
On January 14, 2016, NASA selected SpaceX as one of the three winners of the competition for the second phase of the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) ISS supply program, with 6 guaranteed missions for the Dragon spacecraft and the possibility of contract renewal if necessary.
On April 27, 2016, the company received its first EELV [en] contract with the US Air Force for the launch of the most important satellites for state security, for the launch of the GPS 3-2 navigation satellite. The contract was worth $ 82.7 million, and the launch of the Falcon 9 is expected in 2018.
On February 6, 2018, SpaceX conducted the first launch of the Falcon Heavy super-heavy launch vehicle.
On April 19, 2018, SpaceX successfully launched the TESS Space Telescope, the next-generation exoplanet hunter. The launch was carried out using a Falcon 9 launch vehicle, which was launched from the spaceport at Cape Canaveral. The TESS telescope, during its main scientific mission, will track more than 200,000 of the brightest stars in the vicinity of the solar system, and will search for planets using the traditional transit method.
On February 21, 2019, SpaceX launched the Indonesian communications satellite Nusantara Satu and the Beresheet lunar spacecraft of the Israeli company SpaceIL into orbit.
On March 8, 2019, SpaceX successfully completed the first test flight of the manned spacecraft Crew Dragon to the International Space Station without a crew (source not specified 174 days).