SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher with reusable boosters.
SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher with reusable boosters
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is a US based aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company headquartered in Hawthorne, California USA. SpaceX has developed several launch vehicles, the Starlink satellite constellation, the Dragon cargo spacecraft, and flown humans to the International Space Station on the Crew Dragon Demo-2.
Former PayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk founded the company in 2002 with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.
SpaceX developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both of which were designed from conception to eventually become reusable, and the Dragon spacecraft, which is flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle to supply the International Space Station (ISS) with cargo.
SpaceX has been attempting to perfect the autonomous landing and recovery of the first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, with three successes out of seven attempts. As a result of Elon Musk’s goal of crafting more cost-effective launch vehicles, SpaceX conceived a method to reuse the first stage of their primary rocket, the Falcon 9, by attempting propulsive vertical landings on solid surfaces.
Once the company determined that soft landings were feasible by touching down over the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, they began landing attempts on a solid platform. SpaceX leased and modified several barges to sit out at sea as a target for the returning first stage, converting them to Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ships (ASDS).
The Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. As the first rocket completely developed in the 21st century, Falcon 9 was designed from the ground up for maximum reliability. Falcon 9’s simple two-stage configuration minimizes the number of separation events — and with nine first-stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown.
The Falcon 9 made history in 2012 when it delivered Dragon into the correct orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station, making SpaceX the first commercial company ever to visit the station. Since then SpaceX has made multiple flights to the space station, both delivering and returning cargo for NASA. Falcon 9, along with the Dragon spacecraft, was designed from the outset to deliver humans into space and under an agreement with NASA, SpaceX is actively working towards that goal.