WHO ARE THESE SPACE X GUYS?
AND WHERE ARE THEY GOING IN SUCH A HURRY?
“Design completed for bringing rocket back to Launchpad using only thrusters. YAY! Wings r just dead weight in space"
Official NASA news release? Hardly. This is actually a tweet from Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who founded Space X - Space Exploration and Technologies Corporation - the privately held Hawthorne, California firm that is revolutionizing the design of space vehicles and soon, space travel.
Prepare to think about the exploration of space in a whole new way.
Musk, the man who helped create the online payment system Pay Pal and whose name is synonymous with the high-powered all-electric car, Tesla, is the guiding force behind Space X. As with those other enterprises, Musk is bringing a new perspective to upend the business of space exploration by privatizing an industry that had previously been the exclusive domain of federal governments and their bureaucracies.
Space X, with its 3,000 employees in California, Texas, Florida and Washington, D.C. is seeking to create unheard of efficiencies and cost reductions in space flight through innovative uses of the newest technologies.
Rinse, Reuse, Recycle
For instance: Space X has developed reusable rockets, an industry first. Space X will be able to send an astronaut to the Space Station at a cost of $20 million vs. $70 million for a ride on a Russian rocket. This concept of recycling the first and second stage booster rockets elevates the idea of eco-greenness up to the cosmic level.
Often likened to Marvel's fictitious Tony Stark (billionaire inventor, philanthropist and man about town), Musk, along with his team of scientists and technologists is seeking many other cutting edge firsts: Space X is the only private company ever to send and return a space capsule from orbit.
The Falcon and the Dragon
That space capsule, called the Dragon, has completed five unmanned resupply missions to the International Space Station, with twelve more planned under a contract with NASA.
Still more news: The Dragon will soon be modified and manned, flying astronauts to the space station starting in 2017. A total of some 50 launches are being readied for the near future, which also includes commercial satellite deliveries. This $5 billion in launch contracts speaks to the profitability of the young company.
Also upcoming on the Space X launch manifest - the liftoff of the world’s most powerful rocket. The company’s Falcon Heavy rocket will generate 3.8 million pounds of thrust with its 27 individual booster engines, enough power to lift a 117,000 lb. payload into low-Earth orbit.
The Inter (galactic) net and beyond
Space X views the cosmos as the perfect arena for its ever expanding vision. The company is establishing an advanced technology campus to build a new, Internet satellite network - in effect, they will be creating the next internet… in space.
And from there? Founder Elon Musk plans to reveal the Space X concept for colonizing our neighboring planet, said Musk, “I will eventually go to Mars.”
The sky has never been the limit for Space X.