Essay on Rocket and Space Exploration Technologies

1535 Words May 9th, 2009 7 Pages
Running head: SpaceX



SpaceX is a well known private launch service provider in the commercial space transportation industry. Awarded with a NASA Launch Services contract, SpaceX is taking the industry by storm with low cost and ambitious operations. This paper will describe their background, operations, successes, shortcomings, safety aspects and their role in commercial space transportation.


Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is a launch vehicle service provider in the commercial space travel industry. Their main focus is to increase the capability and reliability of commercial launch vehicles while reducing the cost of accessing space (Space Exploration Technologies
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The primary launch site of the Falcon 9 will be at Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SLC-40 is a world class heavy lift launch facility that’s capable of supporting the Falcon 9 and future Falcon 9 Heavy (SpaceX Breaks Ground at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40, 2007). The Falcon 9 is twice the size of the Falcon 1. It has nine first stage Merlin engines and one second stage Merlin engine. The Falcon 9 is the vehicle SpaceX will use to fulfill their COTS contract. The Falcon 9 is capable of supporting the Dragon spacecraft which the Falcon 1 is not. The first Falcon 9/Dragon COTS Demo flight is scheduled for early 2009 (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, 2008).

The Dragon spacecraft is a reusable capsule capable of transporting cargo, crew, or a mixture of both. It can support up to seven passengers in crew configuration. The spacecraft was designed with simplicity and human factors in mind. It has a pressurized cargo/crew capacity of more than 2500 kg. The Dragon will start with cargo only missions and eventually begin transporting crew to the ISS. The spacecraft is equipped with parachutes for a safe ocean recovery. Safety is the most important aspect of design of the Dragon (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, 2008).

SpaceX must complete a three phase

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