SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of both manned and unmanned space transportation ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, powered by internally developed Merlin engines, SpaceX is able to offer light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any altitude and inclination, from low-Earth orbit to geosynchronous to planetary missions. SpaceX currently has 14 missions on its manifest plus indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts with NASA and the US Air Force.
As a winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition (COTS), SpaceX is in a position to help fill the gap when the Space Shuttle retires in 2010. Under the existing contract, SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for NASA, culminating in Dragon berthing with the International Space Station (ISS) and returning to Earth. NASA also has a contract option on Falcon 9 / Dragon to provide crew services to the ISS after Shuttle retirement.
Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team now numbers nearly 500, located mostly in Hawthorne, with four additional locations; SpaceX's Texas Test Facility in McGregor Texas outside of Waco, offices in Washington DC, and launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida and the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific.
The first Falcon 9 will arrive at the SpaceX launch site at Cape Canaveral by the end of 2008.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Overview of SpaceX
Also from the same press release from SpaceX, a nice overview of the company and what they are up to: