Image credit: Dan Taylor/ Heisenberg Media/Creative Commons

SpaceX’s undisputed rise will help NASA get humans to Mars much sooner!

Exploring Elon Musk’s ambitious plan to send thousands of rockets carrying materials to colonize Mars one day and place a definitive human foot print

SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) has a vision to settle on Mars one day. SpaceX perfects rockets, spacecrafts for astronauts, including privately trained astronauts and to accommodate the public on these platforms. It was founded by Elon Musk in 2002, at Hawethorne with a group of 500 engineers who blasted the Falcon 1 to orbit in 2008 carrying a dummy weight, eventually doing the ‘impossible’ as many of Musk’s colleagues and rivals said, and beginning a new chapter in commercial space industry.

One of SpaceX’s goals is to define and create cheaper alternatives to the modern-day rockets used by NASA since the Space Shuttle program

SpaceX has been involved in researching and testing manned platforms as part of the Commercial Crewed Development Program (CCDev) and providing spacecrafts for deployment in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) as part of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS).

Falcon Heavy. Image credit: SpaceX

One of SpaceX’s goals is to define and create cheaper alternatives to the modern-day rockets used by NASA since the Space Shuttle program.  SpaceX intends to lower the cost price by factors of 10 in just a few years, and grow in stature and efficiency in their quest to advance technology to further fuel humanity’s fascination for space travel.  

Things were not always that simple for SpaceX in the beginning

Things were not always that simple for SpaceX in the beginning. They were to launch their Falcon 1 in 2004, delayed it to 2005, where they couldn’t launch. Later, they launched in 2006 – only to get destroyed in a fire after it reached space. Failure in 2007, threatened Space X with bankruptcy. However, the subsequent launch in 2008 proved a lifesaver and became the turning point for such an enthusiastic and perseverant space company from going bankrupt.

In 2010, SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon 9, simultaneously testing the Dragon capsule as the payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO)

Musk managed to pull off a massive deal with NASA by the end of that year – a $1.9 billion program called the Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS) for 12 cargo missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Space X developed the Dragon 1 spacecraft as a result.

In 2010, SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon 9, simultaneously testing the Dragon capsule as the payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Since 2012, there had been 20 missions to the ISS, 19 of them being part of the NASA. Despite one failure when the rocket blew up on launch, the rest of the twenty missions were a resounding success. SpaceX created history yet again, by testing the Reusable Launch System (RLS) – where the rocket boosters land on drone ships or back in the landing site, instead of leaving it discarded in the sea.

Image credit: SpaceX

SpaceX later improved the Dragon 1 for a more futuristic or in Musk’s words – a 21st century space capsule – the Dragon 2 for commercial operations to the ISS. In 2019, the unmanned Dragon 2 docked to the ISS successfully in preparation for the manned attempt in 2020. In May this year, the Dragon 2, carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley rocketed to space on a Falcon 9, making it the first commercial space company to assist in human spaceflight.

SpaceX has been contracted by NASA for the upcoming Artemis mission that will land the first man and woman on the moon since the Apollo landings between 1969 and 1972

This created an additional record in viewership – about10.3 million watched it live on YouTube, including me and possibly many of you. Space X is contracted by NASA (under a $2.6 billion deal) to participate in a total of 6 Dragon launches to the ISS – carrying both NASA and private space astronauts.

SpaceX has been contracted by NASA for the upcoming Artemis mission that will land the first man and woman on the moon since the Apollo landings between 1969 and 1972. These missions will include a space station, the Lunar Gateway in lunar orbit that will serve as the base for landing missions to the lunar surface. Space X will send the Dragon XL as part of the cargo missions to the Lunar Gateway, that may carry possible research equipment and science experiments that can be done remotely from the Gateway.

SpaceX has had rivalries with other space companies such as Blue Origin, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, the Sierra Nevada Corporation. Despite this, SpaceX has had a certain amount of respect within the space industry, as it presents itself as a different company that follows a strict deadline, commitments from those who work in these projects – many of them in the initial years were recruited directly by Musk himself.

To be part of SpaceX is to be part of the next big deal, and SpaceX keeps committing and delivering spectacularly on innovative new projects – be it the 21st century Dragon 2, or the Starship, or even creating a space-based internet platform (known as Starlink)

Many of them were the top students in their class, and moved on to prove their engineering, or coding skills, or even both of them. They are screened for their passion for joining SpaceX and be a part of a conquest to reach Mars. These are not just conjecture or ideas, these are in fact what SpaceX intends to seriously do within the next or so decade – to help NASA in getting a cheaper alternative, but highly advanced or sophisticated platform.

Image credit: SpaceX

Musk’s idea is to reduce the cost of rocket launches to not just profit from missions to the ISS or even the Gateway, but surely is an ambitious plan to send thousands of rockets carrying materials to colonize Mars one day and place a definitive human foot print, something that NASA has not been able to achieve after the Apollo missions.

To be part of SpaceX is to be part of the next big deal, and SpaceX keeps committing and delivering spectacularly on innovative new projects – be it the 21st century Dragon 2, or the Starship, or even creating a space-based internet platform (known as Starlink).

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