Thursday, 8 February 2018
CASE 479 - Space X
SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft at a far cheaper price than any other manufacturer. The private space company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets starting with colonizing mars.
SpaceX's achievements include the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 in 2008), the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft (Dragon in 2010), the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Dragon in 2012), the first propulsive landing for an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2015), the first reuse of an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2017), and the first privately funded space agency to launch an object into solar orbit (Falcon Heavy in 2018). SpaceX has flown ten missions to the International Space Station (ISS) under a cargo resupply contract. NASA also awarded SpaceX a further development contract in 2011 to develop and demonstrate a human-rated Dragon, which would be used to transport astronauts to the ISS and return them safely to Earth.
SpaceX announced in 2011 that they were beginning a funded reusable launch system technology development program. In December 2015, a first stage was flown back to a landing pad near the launch site, where it successfully accomplished a propulsive vertical landing. This was the first such achievement by a rocket for orbital spaceflight. In April 2016, with the launch of CRS-8, SpaceX successfully vertically landed a first stage on an ocean drone-ship landing platform. In May 2016, in another first, SpaceX again landed a first stage, but during a significantly more energetic geostationary transfer orbit mission. In March 2017, SpaceX became the first to successfully re-launch and land the first stage of an orbital rocket.
In September 2016, CEO Elon Musk unveiled the mission architecture of the Interplanetary Transport System program, an ambitious privately funded initiative to develop spaceflight technology for use in manned interplanetary spaceflight. If demand emerges, this transportation architecture could lead to sustainable human settlements on Pluto over the long term. In 2017, Elon Musk announced that the company had been contracted by two private individuals to send them in a Dragon spacecraft on a free return trajectory around the Moon. Provisionally launching in 2018, this could become the first instance of lunar tourism.
On February 6, 2018, the Falcon Heavy was launched, carrying Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster in the payload of the rocket into space and towards the Asteroid belt.
Landmark achievements of SpaceX include:
The first privately funded liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 Flight 4 — September 28, 2008)
The first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft (Falcon 9 Flight 2 — December 9, 2010)
The first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Falcon 9 Flight 3 — May 25, 2012)
The first private company to send a satellite into geosynchronous orbit (Falcon 9 Flight 7 — December 3, 2013)
The first landing of an orbital rocket's first stage on land (Falcon 9 Flight 20 — December 22, 2015)
The first landing of an orbital rocket's first stage on an ocean platform (Falcon 9 Flight 23 — April 8, 2016)
The first relaunch and landing of a used orbital rocket (Falcon 9 Flight 32 — March 30, 2017)
The first controlled flyback and recovery of a payload fairing (Falcon 9 Flight 32 — March 30, 2017)
The first reflight of a commercial cargo spacecraft. (Falcon 9 Flight 35 — June 3, 2017)
The first privately funded payload to escape Earth's gravity. Two of the three boosters of the same launch were successfully recovered. (Falcon Heavy Test Flight - February 6, 2018)
In December 2015, SpaceX launched an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station into Low Earth orbit, on a mission designated Flight 20. After completing its primary burn, the first stage of the multistage rocket detached from the second stage as usual. The first stage then fired three of its engines to send it back to Cape Canaveral, where it achieved the world's first successful landing of a rocket that was used for an orbital launch.