Space travel has been a fascinating topic since humans discovered that space existed. Scientists believe that space holds the answers to all the questions about life. Despite the effort that has been put into the study of the universe, man has only scratched the surface. One of the companies that have benefited significantly from man’s interest in space is SpaceX. SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies Corp is an American aerospace transportation and manufacturing company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Sending people into space is extremely expensive and SpaceX was founded to come up with innovative ways to save cost on space travel. While reducing space transport is one of the primary reasons SpaceX was developed, its vision is to eventually allow humankind to colonize Mars.
Facts About the SpaceX Rocket Launch You Didn’t Know
As one of the best private space companies in the world, SpaceX has built many space vehicles over time. They are also responsible for the launch of the Dragon spacecraft and Starlink satellite constellation. Through direct efforts from SpaceX, many secrets have been unlocked in outer space and Musk believes that Mars is the only viable option as a backup plan for the inevitable destruction of the earth. The most common fact about SpaceX is that it is the first company to ever launch astronauts into the international space station in rockets that could go on round trips. In 2012, SpaceX launched a Dragon space capsule into the international space station with two astronauts inside. After getting to the space station, the Falcon 9 rocket came back to earth successfully for reuse. While this is a great accomplishment for SpaceX, there is more to the company and the rocket launch than meets the eye.
After SpaceX was founded in 2002, Elon Musk received a lot of criticism when he revealed his vision for the company. Many people in the scientific and business communities said that Musk was chasing after a dream that was impossible to accomplish. At the time, it seemed impossible to get a rocket to launch into space and come back to earth for reuse instead of disintegrating right after the launch. Musk said that he named the rockets after a Hit Song by Peter, Mary and Paul called “Puff the Magic Dragon”. Ten years later, the so-called “impossible mission” became a reality when the first Falcon 9 rocket was launched. About one year later in 2013, SpaceX secured a $1.6 billion deal with NASA just as they celebrated their 10th anniversary. The deal is for the development of 12 unmanned spaceships that will take cargo to the International Space Station. While the first transportation of a rocket with people was done in 2012, the first successful test happened two years earlier in 2010.
Another fun fact about the first Falcon 9 rocket launch is that the first test flight in 2010 took a wheel of cheese into the orbit. Before the test flight, SpaceX refused to reveal the type of cargo it was transporting to the public. It wasn’t until after the launch and return that they revealed that the Dragon rocket was transporting a wheel of cheese. Musk said that the launch was in honor of John Cleese’s classic skit in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. So, anyone who loves that show will love their 2010 launch secret. Photos and videos of the cheese spinning inside the shuttle were released after the launch and return of the first Dragon capsule. The cheese joke was just one of the many funny references to movies that Musk used during the creation and launch of the first Dragon rocket.
SpaceX created a fleet of Falcon rockets that were named after the Millenium Falcon spaceship fleet from Star Wars. The Millenium Falcon fleet in Star Wars was commanded by the legendary Han Solo, one of the major characters in the franchise. Musk is a big superhero fan. So, it isn’t a surprise that part of Iron Man 2 was shot in the Hawthorne, California SpaceX office. This is why Musk got a cameo appearance in the movie. Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man 2, in a profile published by Time magazine, said that the billionaire genius Tony Stark character got some inspiration from real-life Elon Musk.
Must is a tech industry leader that is taking the forefront in the next industrial revolution. Keep in mind that musk isn’t just the founder of SpaceX, he is also the CEO of the electric automobile giant, Tesla Motors. Before Musk became popular, he co-founded the electronic payment company PayPal. This is where he got most of his initial fortune. While some people call Tony Stark the fictional Elon Musk. Some others call Elon Musk him the real-life Tony Stark. Like every other billionaire, Musk has received his fair share of controversy over the years.
What’s Next for SpaceX?
Launching the first reusable rocket into the orbit paved the way for SpaceX to gain worldwide recognition. However, this is just beginning according to Musk. All the contracts the company has gotten since the initial launch have been channeled toward changing the world. The fire breathing Dragon capsules will keep launching expeditions into space. Musk wants SpaceX to become the first company to dock a commercial space capsule into the International Space Station. This might seem like a difficult goal to accomplish but Musk and SpaceX have proven that there is nothing they can’t do with funding and time. Musk also wants to be the first entrepreneur to send an astronaut into the orbit. SpaceX is planning to send astronauts to orbiting outposts and some other destinations in the lower earth orbit. They intend to do this with a robotic version of the Dragon capsule. None of Musk’s dreams compare to the mother of them all; colonizing Mars. On several occasions, he has talked about how the human race is ruining the earth and needs to start living in other planets if the human race is to survive. He said that the Dragon spacecraft will be modified to land on Mars one day. This way, they can start exploring the environment.
Things haven’t been easy for SpaceX. It’s been a bumpy ride since 2002. On two occasions, the launch failed and the rockets, which cost millions of dollars to produce, were destroyed. The Dragon rockets that failed were seven-person crew rockets. The rockets created by SpaceX are much different from the upright rockets that usually have seats at the sides. The Dragon spaceships were designed to take seven passengers but it can take less than seven as well. Each one comes with an escape pod that is attached to the base of the capsule. The escape pud is put in to save the astronauts in case there is an emergency. If there is an explosion, the main rocket mid-air, the escape rocket will push the ship away to safety. This is also one of the reasons why the Dragon rockets are reusable. All SpaceX had to do after the rockets were returned is clean it and prepare it for reuse.
SpaceX is also facing competition from Boeing. Boeing is currently working on a CST-100 spaceship. This spacecraft will go to the International Space Station on missions along with SpaceX’s Dragon. Blue Origin is also working on its reusable rockets but it will not be flying any time soon. Virgin Atlantic is also working on selling suborbital products for people who want to go to space for vacations just like Vulcan Aerospace. SpaceX is still more advanced than all these other competitors in the private sector. With NASA’s backing, there is no telling how far Elon Musk and SpaceX will go to accomplishing its goals. They still have contracts from other organizations which will keep them afloat.