How did it all start?

Like a modern-day Percival Lowell, Elon Musk is a true Mars enthusiast. So, from the early 2000s, the young multimillionaire nearly 30 years old wanted to get into aerospace. Initially, Musk’s goal was to build a scientific base on the Red Planet along with the project March Oasis. But the costs of such a design forced him to turn to spaceflight, and May 6, 2002 the company was officially created SpaceX. If the new company finds it difficult to take off, it will experience a meteoric rise during the 2010s, where SpaceX engineers will succeed in developing reusable launchers, the Falcons. Musk, news whooping cough of conquest of the galaxy, then recognized throughout the world. But if SpaceX’s goal is far away, that’s mandatory Nasa to design the lunar lander of program by Artemisthe hegemony of the company was challenged by backlashes as well as the advent of other private companies such as Blue Source in the aerospace market.

The greatness of the “small” beginning

When Musk launched SpaceX in 2002, the entrepreneur had “only” $ 200 million in his pocket, following the sale of two of his companies, PayPal and Zip2. Initially, the future billionaire visited Russia to obtain structures missiles Soviet Intercontinental Ballistics (Intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM), without any real success. Between 2005 and 2008, SpaceX devoted itself to development Falcon 1 rocket. This first model will fly three times: once in 2006 and twice in 2008, each launch resulting in failure. Despite this, NASA saved the young company from bankruptcy, injecting nearly 300 million dollars into the program. Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (the acronym COTS which means in French, “commercial orbital transport service”). Thanks to this funding, Space X is back and began, in 2009, the development of the popular Falcon 9.

This is new rocket was launched for the first time in 2010, again with the support of NASA. The American agency provides strong support to SpaceX and has established several contracts with the company. SpaceX scientists are working on a new way to reuse launchers. Developed by Wernher von Braun by the end of the 1940s, this idea had been exploited in the past. In 1993, aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas designed Delta Clipper reusable launcher to be abandoned by NASA in 1997. Avant-garde, the Delta Clipper proposed a landing powered by rocket engines, nearly 20 years before the Falcon 9. At the same time, the European Space Agency is considering, for the rocket Ariadne 5the question of reusable, problematic, and which will re -emerge after fifteen years regarding Ariadne 6. In 2015, after several successful launches but failed landings, SpaceX was able to save a Falcon 9 in its entirety. A technical work has been noticed around the world.

The Odyssey to Mars

Satellite launches follow each other for SpaceX, in partnership with public and private agencies. In 2018, the super-heavy launcher was tested Falcon Heavydesigned to be able to transport orbit low payload of nearly 64 tons. In 2019, voices were raised to condemn the starlink projectintended to put several thousand satellites in low orbit to provide coverage Internet world. Ang astronomers point of amateurs and professionals light pollution formed by constellation of satellites. At the same time, SpaceX continues to be commanded by NASA. In 2020, one capsule Crew Dragon placed on top of a Falcon 9 leading the way astronauts Americans (Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken) towards international galaxy station. Since then, SpaceX will conduct several manned missions to the ISS. In 2021, the Frenchman Thomas Pesquet and German Matthias Maurer both flew the Dragon Crew to get to the station.

While the U.S. Space Administration continues to plan for the return of astronauts to Moondesign and construction of lunar lander, named Human Landing System, was entrusted by NASA to SpaceX. The architecture of HLS is based on the Starship, a very heavy vessel capable of carrying (in theory) one hundred tons into low orbit. If Elon Musk’s company has conducted some testing of Starship, they have proven to be indecisive. The various flights of Starships NS made in 2021 ended in fireworks. We’ll still have to wait to put the astronauts on top of Elon Musk’s new XXL toy.

The businessman did not hide his intention: to put men on the Moon by 2025 and dropped the first Martian settlers on the Red Planet before 2030. It is difficult to predict whether the ambitions of the billionaire will be achieved in the time available. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell announced on May 6, 2022 that Starship will conduct its first orbital flight between June and July 2022, following clearance from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA, Federal Aviation Administration). This milestone could mark a major step forward for SpaceX, the Artemis program and the conquest of space.

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