SpaceX

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Template:Infobox Company

The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is an El Segundo, California space transportation startup company whose stated goal is to improve the cost and reliability of access to space "ultimately by a factor of ten".

SpaceX has announced development of the Falcon family of mostly reusable two stage, RP-1 kerosene/liquid oxygen launch vehicles, including the Falcon I rocket with one lower stage engine, one upper stage engine and the larger Falcon V rocket with five lower stage engines, one upper stage engine. The maiden launch of the Falcon I is scheduled for late Summer 2005, with a United States Naval Research Laboratory Optical Sciences Division Tacsat payload. The maiden launch of the Falcon V is scheduled for the second quarter of 2006 with a Bigelow Aerospace Genesis Pathfinder expandable space station module payload.

SpaceX was founded in June, 2002, by Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. Musk co-founded two previous startup companies: Zip2, a leader in the online news publishing software business; and PayPal, a leader in the online funds transfer business. Zip2 was sold in 1999 to the computer hardware and services company Compaq for US$341 million in cash and stock options [1] (http://h18020.www1.hp.com/corporate/1999ar/nf/fin_notes2.html) and PayPal was sold in 2002 to online auctioneer eBay for US$1.5 billion in stock.[2] (http://www.shareholder.com/Common/Edgar/1065088/891618-03-1538/03-00.pdf) Musk funds SpaceX from the fortune gained through these sales. In an interview Musk has stated: "I donít want to say specific numbers. But Iíve certainly spent more than I expected to spend. On Falcon I alone Iím unlikely to recoup my investment, but with Falcon V and Falcon I, together I think that I probably will."

On May 2, 2005, the company announced that it had been awarded a $100 million IDIQ (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity) contract for Responsive Small Spacelift (RSS) launch services by the United States Air Force [3] (http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=16791).

As of April 27, 2005, the company has around 110 employees.

Future development

While currently focused on the launch of unmanned spacecraft, SpaceX has announced that it plans to pursue a manned commercial space program through the end of the decade. SpaceX seeks to win America's Space Prize, which will award $50 million to the first U.S. company that launches at least 5 astronauts on a privately-financed and developed reusable spacecraft to Low Earth Orbit twice within 60 days before January 10, 2010. SpaceX will use its Falcon V vehicle to pursue the prize.[4] (http://www.wired.com/news/space/0,2697,66308,00.html)

Also, SpaceX has announced plans for the development of the Merlin 2 engine, a scale version of a larger F-1-class engine to be developed in the future. The company is rumored to be working on a very large rocket to accompany the F-1-class engine, referred to in-house as the "Big F--king Rocket" (BFR), presumably in reference to the BFG9000 weapon in the Doom video game. In the past Musk has stated, "Long term plans call for development of a heavy lift product and even a super-heavy, if there is customer demand. We expect that each size increase would result in a meaningful decrease in cost per pound to orbit. For example, dollar cost per pound to orbit dropped from $4,000 to $1,300 between Falcon 1 and Falcon 5. Ultimately, I believe $500 per pound or less is very achievable."

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