SpaceX birthday video celebrates its first 20 years

SpaceX has shared a highlight video to mark its 20th anniversary. The footage features key moments from the first two decades of operations, and as you’ll see, it was a wild ride.

Today we celebrate the founding of SpaceX and 20 years of achievements by this incredible team – on creating a future we can all get excited about

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 14, 2022

The privately funded space company, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on March 14, 2002, achieved its first orbital launch with the Falcon 1 rocket six years later in 2008.

Since then, milestone missions have come thick and fast, with notable breakthroughs, including the first spaceflight team to launch and land a booster in the first stage — a maneuver that seemed impossible until SpaceX actually did it.

Finding a way to land a booster was key to SpaceX’s goal of creating a reusable rocket system to dramatically reduce the cost of space travel. After several failed landing attempts in which its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket toppled and exploded shortly after its return to Earth, SpaceX made its first booster landing in October 2015. Since then, it has pretty much perfected the maneuver, giving the company Falcon 9 boosters for repeats. usage.

In addition to deploying small satellites to various companies and organizations, California-based SpaceX has also become a key NASA partner for flights to and from the International Space Station (ISS). It started with cargo deliveries using the Dragon spacecraft before moving on to astronaut flights using the Crew Dragon.

The first manned flight to the ISS took place in 2020, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken traveling to and from the orbital outpost aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft. The historic flight also returned manned missions to U.S. territory for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.

Since SpaceX’s first manned flight, NASA has used the Crew Dragon for multiple manned missions to the ISS, with the fourth operational flight with four astronauts currently scheduled for next month.

SpaceX certainly also took the honor of “sending strangest payload to space,” after it launched the “Starman” mannequin and a Tesla Roadster into orbit during a test flight for its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket in 2018.

Crazy payloads aside, Musk still has serious ambitions for SpaceX, with the company currently preparing the first orbital test flight of its next-generation Starship vehicle that will take crews to the Moon, and possibly Mars, in the coming years. Musk has often talked about his dream of one day building a self-sufficient city on Mars to ensure humanity’s survival in the event of a disaster on Earth, and it’s not a plan he’s likely to give up anytime soon.

Closer to home, SpaceX recently launched its first all-civilian orbital flight, sending four amateur astronauts on a three-day trip around Earth using its Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, with the effort paving the way for potential space tourism. -business.

It also launched its Starlink internet-from-space initiative that uses a growing constellation of small satellites to provide broadband connectivity for Earthlings, with unserved and underserved communities the company’s main target.

Few would dispute the idea that SpaceX has surpassed expectations (and then some) over the past two decades, with eager observers eager to see what the team can accomplish in the next 20 years.

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