The Falcon 9 and Dragon, by SpaceX, Elon Musk
Elon Musk is the founder of PayPal and a native of South Africa. From the profits of his very successful business, he has pursued his personal interest in space development by creating the company SpaceX in 2002 to develop the capability to launch people and heavy cargo into space from Earth.
Elon Musk has been an exceptionally successful director and manager. The Falcon series, starting with Falcon 1 and currently at Falcon 9, had many good successes albeit mixed in with some failures of subsystems under development as would be expected.
SpaceX developed good relations with NASA, culminating with a good cash flow contract from the government agency to ferry people to/from the International Space Station, whereby NASA subsidized development towards the end of the highly successful private stage due to retirement of the Space Shuttle. However, it is believed that SpaceX would have developed a capability anyway, just more slowly, had it continued with purely private funding.
The Falcon 9, funded by NASA, has the capability as of 2012 to launch approximately 10 tons to low Earth orbit.
One of those payloads is the Dragon crew launch and return module, which is for ferrying up to 7 humans and/or supplies to and from the International Space Station. Development of the Dragon has been assisted by NASA's Commercial Orbital Transfer System (COTS) program, whereby the Dragon and Falcon won a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.
The first launch of the Falcon 9 into orbit was in June 2010, and the first launch of the Dragon capsule was in December 2010, whereby the Dragon performed 2 orbits at 300km elevation, undergoing testing of its many subsystems (pressurization, thruster control and navigation, and other systems) and then returned for a splashdown near Mexico, successfully demonstrating its heat shield, parachutes, and all subsystems.
The first flight of the Dragon to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for May 19, 2012, for supplies only, not people yet.
SpaceX has also been the company of choice for others in the space resources community. The Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch the Astrobotic lunar lander which will try to win the Google X Prize sometime around the end of 2013 or early 2014. Bigelow Aerospace has also booked a Falcon 9 in 2015 for its BA330 inflatable 300 cubic meter habitat, which will be human rated and fully outfitted.
The Falcon 9 is currently a totally expendable launch system, with maximum production capability in 2012 stated as one Falcon 9 per six weeks.
A next phase of development is to make its two stages reusable. The second stage is much more challenging than the first stage, but Elon Musk seems committed to attempting this. Of keen interest is his so-called Grasshopper vertical landing development program started in 2011, with some testing scheduled for 2012.
In December 2011, SpaceX also start contracting with Stratolaunch Systems for air launched rockets, discussed on another page in this section.
Elon Musk also co-founded and is CEO of Tesla Motors, the successful electric car and powertrain company which has shocked the traditional big car companies by outperforming them. Elon Musk is also a well known proponent of solar energy systems, and is chairman of SolarCity, an aggressive developer of residential and commercial solar energy applications, with various financing means, including plans for the largest solar rooftop powered community (120,000) in America.
PERMANENT.com > Transportation > Earth Launchers > SpaceX, Falcon, Elon Musk
PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?
There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.
The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.
Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.
This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.
Reasons to do something yourself:
- It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
- It will create and secure a better future for your children and grandchildren.
- It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!
You can join us and volunteer to help out,
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