SpaceX journey: Liquid-fueled rocket to crew dragon spacecraft.

Rashmi singh | January 28, 2020

article image
  • Since its launch in 2002, SpaceX has passed a series of significant milestones over the years. By December 2008, NASA awarded SpaceX a $1.6 billion contract for Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) to the International Space Station (ISS).

  • In 2011 SpaceX publicly announced the Reusable Launch System Development Program. In March 2017, SpaceX relaunched the used rocket and brought it back by landing it in the ocean, safely.

  • In March 2019, SpaceX conducted the maiden launch of its new iteration of the Dragon spacecraft, known as Crew Dragon, the first manned Crew Dragon mission is set the year 2020.


10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Lift off! And SpaceX makes history.

On December 21, 2015, the Falcon 9 rocket delivered 11 communications satellites to orbit. During this launch, SpaceX attempted a propulsive landing for a Falcon 9, the first stage successfully returned from space and landed at Landing Zone 1. This is the first time in history an orbital class rocket landed on the pad.

“It’s kind of amazing that this window of opportunity is open for life to go beyond Earth. And we just don’t know how long that window is going to be open. But the thing that gets me most fired up is that creating a self- sustaining civilization on Mars, it would be the greatest adventure ever, ever in human history. It would be so exciting to wake up in the morning and think that that’s what’s happening.”


- Elon Musk, Founder, SpaceX.

SpaceX has been really exciting and it has revolutionized the public interest in space exploration and rockets and sending humans back into space.

The company has become the household name in America and its little wonder why. Founded by the eccentric and controversial Elon Musk, the rocket builder is now one of the most valuable private companies in the world, ranking among the likes of Uber and Airbnb. Elon Musk founded SpaceX with the ultimate goal of enabling human life on Mars. Musk envisions a future where humans live in a spacefaring civilization, frequent voyages from Earth to Mars and vice-versa.

"Consciousness is a very rare and precious thing, we should take whatever steps we can to preserve the light of consciousness. We should do our very best to become a multiplanet species, extend consciousness beyond Earth and we should do it now." Elon Musk, Founder, SpaceX.

Story Behind the Foundation of SpaceX

In 2001, Musk conceptualized a project to land a miniature experimental greenhouse on Mars. Musk travelled to Russia to buy refurbished Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles also known as ICBMs to send colony of mice to Mars. Russian offered to sell one rocket at $8 million USD. Musk felt it was artificially overpriced, they even taunted Elon Musk. “They said, ‘Oh, little boy, you don’t have the money?” to which Musk replied “I think we can build a rocket ourselves.”

On the flight back from Moscow, Musk realized that he could start a company that could build the affordable rockets he needed. Musk calculated that the raw materials for building a rocket actually were only 3% of the sales price of a rocket at the time. SpaceX could cut the launch price by a factor of ten and still enjoy a 70% gross margin.

With $100 million USD, Musk founded SpaceX, in May 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. To reach this height of success where it is today, SpaceX has worked hard through ups and downs. Here's a rundown of SpaceX's greatest achievements!

SpaceX’s Achievements

In 2006 The first SpaceX rocket failed in just 33 seconds after lift-off. In 2007 and in 2008 the 2nd and the 3rd chance to establish Company’s credibility also ended in failure. Now, Musk had money that could only fund the 4th launch. On 28th Sep, 2008, the 4th Falcon 1 Rocket was successfully launched and achieved Earth orbit. History was made. Falcon 1 became the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth. Since then, there was no looking back for SpaceX and Elon Musk.

On December 23, 2008, NASA awarded SpaceX $1.6 billion Dollar contract to handle cargo transplant for the International Space Station.

By December 2010, SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule became the first privately developed spacecraft in history to launch and re-enter from low-Earth orbit. It also became the first private company to send a Dragon to the International Space Station in May 2012. That step was crucial because the technology proved it could safely dock to the orbiting station.

In 2011, SpaceX publicly announced Reusable Launch System Development Program. After few failure attempts, SpaceX achieved a successful landing and recovery of a first stage in December 2015.

In April 2016, the Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, and the rocket booster returned to land vertically on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship. This event, was very exciting for the company because its goal is to achieve rocket reusability. In March 2017, SpaceX relaunched the used rocket and brought it back by landing it in the ocean.  It was a perfect landing. All rockets are designed to burn up on reentry, but SpaceX rockets can not only withstand reentry, it can also successfully land back on Earth and refly again. Musk believes a fully and rapidly reusable rocket is needed to reduce the cost of Space travel.

Today in 2019, we see SpaceX rockets flawlessly return from space, landing both on land and at sea -this truly became the company's signature feat!

The first reuse of an orbital rocket happened in March 2017. SpaceX achieved the world's first-second reflight of an orbital class Falcon 9 rocket after the delivery of cargo to space. Musk said that day:

"It means you can fly and refly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket. This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight."

Learn more: SpaceX: Facts About Elon Musk's Private Spaceflight Company.

SpaceX’s most recent achievement to date is its Falcon Heavy test flight, which in February 2018 was the first attempt to launch a Falcon Heavy rocket. After a
successful launch, the Falcon Heavy is now the most powerful rocket in operation anywhere in the world. The payload dummy was Musk’s Tesla Roadster sports car, with a dummy astronaut called “Starman" in its driving seat.

In March 2019, SpaceX conducted the maiden launch of its new iteration of the Dragon spacecraft, known as Crew Dragon, which will be used to transport NASA astronauts to the ISS and return them safely to Earth.

Learn More: Elon Musk Sets Out SpaceX Starship’s Ambitious Launch Timeline

What’s next

Starlink is the name of a satellite network that the private spaceflight company SpaceX is developing to provide low-cost internet to remote locations. SpaceX launched its first two Starlink test craft, named TinTinA and TinTinB, in 2018. The mission went smoothly.

The first 60 Starlink satellites were launched on May 23, 2019, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The satellites successfully reached their operational altitude of 340 miles. Within days of the first launch, skywatchers spotted a linear pearl string of lights as the satellites whizzed overhead in the early morning. The International Astronomical Union expressed concerns in a statement released in June 2019. "Satellite constellations can pose a significant or debilitating threat to important existing and future astronomical infrastructures, and we urge their designers and deployers as well as policy-makers to work with the astronomical community in a concerted effort to analyse and understand the impact of satellite constellations," the statement said.

So far, SpaceX has flown 19 Dragon spacecraft CRS resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) under a partnership contract with NASA. Every single docking with the ISS proved it could successfully transport humans one day.

On the bright side, SpaceX has now aced all its major tests, and could take astronauts into space for its first crewed flight to the space station in just a couple of months. Doug Hurley, one of the NASA astronauts scheduled to fly on that mission, described Sunday's test as "kind of the final exam," adding, "We're getting really close to our flight."

According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the Crew Dragon hardware for that mission should ready by February, and the mission should be ready to go "in the second quarter."

Starship is the next. Musk believes the company is on the cusp of achieving "the holy grail of space". SpaceX will ultimately replace all their rockets and spacecraft with Starship. Engineers are utilizing all their previous technological achievements and knowledge to develop this next-generation craft with the promise to take humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond!

Spotlight

MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy is a leading provider of enterprise software platforms for business intelligence (BI), mobile intelligence, and social intelligence applications. MicroStrategy's BI platform enables leading organizations worldwide to analyze the vast amounts of data stored across their enterprises to make better business decisions. Companies choose MicroStrategy BI for its ease-of-use, sophisticated analytics, and superior data and user scalability.

OTHER ARTICLES

CAN AI REPLACE ‘GUT FEELING’?

Article | June 2, 2021

Artificial Intelligence is empowering business leaders to make better, data-driven, and insightful decisions. It has undergone several evolutions since it burst into the business scene in the 1950s, to the point where several thinkers have already painted a machine that replaces human scenarios for the future. Our view on the future of work has evolved into a zero-sum game, where the result is an either-or. In my opinion, the view that AI will play a dominant role in the workplace is a little extreme. The fundamental assumption around AI replacing human workers is that humans and machines have the same characteristic. Totally untrue!. AI-based systems may be fast, consistently accurate, and rational, but they are not intuitive, emotional or culturally sensitive. Humans possess these qualities in abundance, and it is one of the reasons why we continue to surprise the world with our advancements. Intuition is the Mother of Innovation If we are living comfortable lives today, it’s because some business leaders chose their gut feeling over data analytics on numerous occasions. Some historical examples have been: 1: Henry Ford, facing falling demand for his cars and high worker turnover in 1914, doubled his employees’ wages, and it paid off. 2: Bill Allen was the CEO of Boeing in the 1950s, a company that manufactured planes for the defence industry. One day, he woke up to the idea of building commercial jets for a sector that was non-existent – civilian air travel. Allen convinced his board to risk $16 million on a new transcontinental airliner, the 707. The move transformed Boeing and air travel. 3: Travis Kalanick faced serious pushback when Uber instituted surge pricing. His move seemed to anger and alienate everyone. Travis stayed the course, and Uber modified its surge policy whenever appropriate. Now, dynamic pricing is an accepted aspect of this business and many others. So the question is, should a competent professional trust their gut feeling or make data-driven decisions? DATA V/S GUT Top professionals have repeatedly confirmed that gut feeling is one of the main reasons for their success. Leadership often gets associated with quick responses in unprecedented situations and lateral thinking. Experienced leaders are not only fearless about their instincts but are also proficient at making others feel confident in their judgment. Also, going with our instinct can help us make decisions quickly and more accurately since we tend to make choices based on experiences, values, and compassion. Malcolm Gladwell calls this ‘thin slicing’ in his book, “Blink”. Thin-slicing is a cognitive manoeuvre that involves taking a narrow slice of data, what you see at a glance, and letting your intuition do the work for you. However, he does warn that some decisions are exempt from this rule; it only applies to areas where you already have significant expertise. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can support leaders to see complex patterns that can lead to new understanding in this fast-moving, digital era. The contention is that ‘human gut’ feeling can go hand in hand with AI – each supporting the other to achieve balanced outcomes. A Joint Venture Between Head and Heart Many see AI as an aid to human intelligence, not a replacement. To be one-step ahead in the AI era, professionals must learn to balance human and machine thinking. Organizations will have to showcase the ability to use the correct information at the right time and take action. It’s about using your instinct to take advantage of data and transforming that information into timely business decisions. AI is not yet ready to replace the human brain, but it has matured into an effective co-worker. Will intelligent machines replace human workers sometime soon? I guess not. Both have different abilities and strengths. The more important question is: Can human intelligence combine with AI to produce something experts are calling augmented intelligence? Augmented intelligence is collaborative, and at the same time, it represents a collaborative effort in the service of the human race. Figuring out how to blend the right mix with the best of data-driven deliberation and instinctive judgment could be one of the most significant challenges of our time.Enable GingerCannot connect to Ginger Check your internet connection or reload the browserDisable in this text fieldRephraseRephrase current sentenceEdit in Ginger×

Read More

How SEOs can benefit from using AI and automation

Article | March 10, 2020

Today, optimizing for search is optimizing your customer’s experience. As people query a search engine on their laptop, ask a voice assistant for help, or use their mobile device to find nearby solutions to their needs, brands must be positioned to appear in these critical decision-making moments. Moreover, they must be positioned to respond with relevant, personalized content that speaks directly to the stated need—regardless of device or platform. In fact, real-time marketing (65%) and omnichannel delivery and engagement (52%) were identified as the top two near-term marketing priorities in an Econsultancy/Resulticks survey of more than 340 enterprise brands.

Read More

Unlocking the Power of AI

Article | April 16, 2021

At VMworld 2020, NVIDIA and VMware shared their vision to work together to democratize and unleash AI for every enterprise. And that’s the case today as the companies roll out a jointly engineered solution that optimizes the latest update to VMware vSphere 7 — for AI applications with the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite on Dell Technologies. The combination of technologies from these world-class companies makes it easier to access a rich menu of accelerated parallel-computing applications, AI frameworks, models and software development kits (SDKs). It gives AI researchers, data scientists and developers the software they need to deliver successful AI projects, while arming IT professionals with the ability to support AI using the tools they’re most familiar with for managing data centers and hybrid cloud environments.

Read More

What is AI-guided selling?

Article | May 3, 2021

B2B selling has become increasingly complex for buyers and sellers. Buyers are inundated with content on a variety of channels, from an assortment of vendors. Sellers are often pulled in several directions, with many tasks and responsibilities to tackle. AI-guided selling is helping sellers navigate the complexity of digital-first sales cycles. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are helping sellers realize this vision by transforming data from content analytics into intelligent insights that enable go-to-market teams to make the most of every revenue moment. In this post, we’ll share the ins and outs of AI-guided selling, how it will affect go-to-market activities, and what it means for the future of sales and marketing.

Read More

Spotlight

MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy is a leading provider of enterprise software platforms for business intelligence (BI), mobile intelligence, and social intelligence applications. MicroStrategy's BI platform enables leading organizations worldwide to analyze the vast amounts of data stored across their enterprises to make better business decisions. Companies choose MicroStrategy BI for its ease-of-use, sophisticated analytics, and superior data and user scalability.

Events