SpaceX is an American telecommunications and space company. Elon Musk founded the company in 2002 and built it into the global market leader in commercial satellite launches. 13,000 employees now work for Space
Musk finances SpaceX with millions from PayPal
When Musk founded the company more than 20 years ago and invested half of his $100 million profit from selling online payment service PayPal into Space X, he started with a small team. However, in 2005, SpaceX already had 130 employees. Only in this way was the production of rockets possible: with many resources in the form of people and money.
The first Space X rocket was launched in 2006. The first attempts with the Falcon 1 failed. But the fourth attempt, in 2008, was successful. This means SpaceX can claim to have built the first privately developed and operational orbital rocket.
That same year, SpaceX received a NASA contract worth $1.6 billion. Musk's company had to transport 20 tons of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX has been flying regularly to the ISS since 2012. Two years later, the company received another contract from NASA for crewed flights of the Dragon spacecraft.
Musk and SpaceX build reusable rockets and save money
To reduce the costs of space travel, SpaceX has decided to reuse rocket parts. After several attempts, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket managed to land again. Only in this way has SpaceX been able to reduce the costs of rocket launches to seven since its founding.
The head of Tesla and his space company also wanted to get into the military and reconnaissance satellite business. SpaceX pushed hard to achieve this. The Americans managed to break the monopolistic position of the United Launch Alliance. The Falcon Heavy is the most powerful commercial launch vehicle in the world, with a transport capacity of approximately 64 tons. The main customer for Falcon Heavy launches is NASA and the US military.
SpaceX makes space tourism possible
SpaceX's next big project is the Starship rocket, which will allow the colonization of Mars in the future. The first tourist charter flights with the Starship are planned. Jared Issacman, Yasaku Maezawa and Denis Tito have already booked their flights to space.
Finally, SpaceX's latest project is Starlink. Musk's satellite network is intended to enable Internet reception around the world. The satellites are equipped with lasers and thus connect to each other. They are constantly being replaced by more powerful satellites to increase Starlink's performance.
Musk is the face of the company and responsible for technical strategy. He runs SpaceX alongside Gwynne Shotwell, who is responsible for daily operations. Forbes reports by the end of 2023 that the space company is worth $180 billion. Although in 2022 annual sales still amounted to $4.6 billion, in 2023 they are expected to be double that.