Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX is a leading American space transport company, advancing the boundaries of space technology through its Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon spacecraft. Following the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program, the Falcon 9/Dragon system will take over the delivery of cargo initially, and later astronauts, to the International Space Station.
In April 2011, SpaceX announced its plans to design, build, and launch the Falcon Heavy–the world’s largest rocket since the Saturn V moon rocket. The Falcon Heavy will have the ability to carry payloads weighing more than 53 metric tons (yes, tons) to orbit, offering more than twice the performance of other commercial providers. Together, the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon spacecraft will help ensure the U.S. maintains leadership in the dynamic global space marketplace.
More recently, Thai satellite company Thaicom Plc. has selected (and contracted) SpaceX to launch the new Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from its Cape Canaveral launch site in the second quarter of 2013. The contract brings another international launch to the United States, flying with SpaceX. Thaicom is the eighth non-U.S. customer manifested for upcoming flights aboard the Falcon 9.
“This deal… is the latest example of the effect SpaceX is having on the international commercial launch market,” says Elon Musk, SpaceX chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technical officer (CTO).
Elon Musk, aside from having a cool and memorable name, is an equally cool and memorable person. What did Musk do before SpaceX, you ask? How much time do you have? This geek could go on and on… and he will (in the next blog installment.)