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What is SpaceX: Step by Step Guide


SpaceX, also known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., is a California company with its headquarters in Hawthorne. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the intention of bringing down costs and constructing a permanent settlement on Mars.

SpaceX is in charge of the development and maintenance of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, as well as the spacecraft Dragon and Starship.

The firm provides internet access using Starlink satellites. By January 2020, the number of tiny satellites in orbit had surpassed all prior constellations combined, with about 5,000 of them in orbit by November 2023.

Elon Musk first met Robert Zubrin in early 2001. He gave $100,000 to his Mars Society and briefly joined the board of directors.[11]: 30-31 He spoke in plenary at their

Upon Musk and Michael Griffin’s return to Moscow, Russia, they discovered that the Russians were becoming less accommodating.[15][16] Musk revealed he could launch a business to produce the reasonably priced rockets they required while returning home.

Musk thought SpaceX could drastically reduce launch costs by using vertical integration,[15] employing inexpensive commercial off-the-shelf components when it was feasible.

embracing the modular style of contemporary software engineering.[16] Griffin eventually became an administrator of NASA[17] and contributed to the creation of the COTS program.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk began hiring for his soon-to-be SpaceX firm at the beginning of 2002. Musk made approaches to five individuals for the first jobs at the startup company.

rocket engineer Tom Mueller, Chris Thompson, Jim Cantrel and John Garvey (who would later create Vector Launch), Michael Griffin, who was given the post of Chief Engineer.

The first headquarters of SpaceX were located in an El Segundo, California, warehouse.

Early SpaceX staff members from nearby TRW and Boeing companies included Chris Thompson (VP of Operations), Gwynne Shotwell (COO), and Tom Mueller (CTO).

There were 160 workers at the firm as of November 2005.[22] All of SpaceX’s early hires were interviewed by Musk, who also gave his approval.[23] According to Musk, one of his objectives with

With funds from within the company, SpaceX created the Falcon 1, its first orbital launch vehicle.[25][26] The Falcon 1 was a small-lift, two-stage, expendable launch vehicle designed to reach orbit.

Falcon 1’s whole development cost was between $90 million and $100 million[27].[28] The fictitious Millennium Falcon spacecraft from Star Wars served as the inspiration for the Falcon rocket series.

A 2004 protest by SpaceX to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was directed at NASA due to a sole-source contract that was given to Kistler Aerospace.


NASA canceled the contract and established the COTS program before the GAO could react.[30][31] A human-rated commercial space program.

which would eventually lead to the development of the Dragon spacecraft, was to be pursued by SpaceX through the end of the decade, the company said in 2005.[32] NASA chose the business in 2006 and gave it $396 million to

The US Department of Defense acquired the first two Falcon 1 launches as part of the DARPA Falcon Project.

which assessed new US launchers fit for delivering hypersonic missiles for Prompt Global Strike.[26][34][35] The firm nearly went out of business after the rocket’s first three flights, which occurred in 2006 and 2008.

Tesla Motors’ financing had also collapsed [36], which meant that Musk, SolarCity, and Tesla were all on the verge of bankruptcy at the same moment.

According to reports, Musk’s stress was causing him to “wake from nightmares, screaming and in physical pain.”38
With the first successful launch performed on the fourth try on September 28, 2008, the financial position began to improve. Musk divided the $30 million that remained between SpaceX and

After its second successful flight in July 2009—its fifth overall—the Falcon 1 was quickly decommissioned to make way for SpaceX to concentrate its resources on developing the Falcon 9, a bigger orbital rocket.

Gwynne Shotwell

At this time, Gwynne Shotwell received a promotion to company president in recognition of her successful negotiation of the CRS contract.

Originally, SpaceX planned to replace its lightweight Falcon 1 launch vehicle with the Falcon 5, an intermediate-capacity spacecraft.

Instead, in 2005, the business made the decision to move on with the creation of the reusable heavier lift vehicle, known as the Falcon 9.

NASA expedited the development of the Falcon 9, promising to buy many commercial flights in exchange for the demonstration of certain capabilities.

The Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program provided seed funding for this in 2006.[43] The total contract award was $278 million.

which will be used to pay the Dragon spacecraft’s development, the Falcon 9 rocket.

the Falcon 9 with Dragon demonstration missions.[43] Under the terms of this deal, the Falcon 9 used a mockup to launch the Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit for the first time in June 2010.

Launched on COTS Demo Flight 1, the second flight of the Falcon 9, the first operational Dragon spacecraft successfully completed its mission goals and returned to Earth after two orbits in December 2010.

[44] By December 2010, one Falcon 9 and Dragon was being produced every three months on the SpaceX assembly line.[45].
NASA awarded SpaceX a $75 million contract in April 2011 as part of its second-round Commercial Crew.

Development (CCDev)

Development (CCDev) program to build an integrated launch escape system for Dragon in order to prepare it for human-rating as a crew transport spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Early in 2012, Musk held almost two thirds of SpaceX’s stock[48].

[50] Dragon became the first commercial spaceship to transport supplies to the International Space Station with the launch of the C2+ in May 2012.[51].

The company’s private equity valuation almost quadrupled to $2.4 billion, or $20 per share, following the flight.

[52][53] By then, SpaceX had run its operations on about $1 billion in investment throughout the course of its first ten years of existence. roughly $200 million of this came from private equity, of which Musk contributed roughly $100 million and other investors contributed about $100 million.

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