In Detail: SpaceX And The Man Behind It

One brilliant man considers space exploration among a short list of areas most likely to affect the future of humanity. Can you guess who? Not a famous politician or an astronaut, at least yet; it was an eager entrepreneur named Elon Musk. The man is best known for co-founding PayPal and Tesla Motors, both of which are considered to be nothing short of revolutionary. But did you know that his greatest attempt at advancing humanity comes from his lesser known company, SpaceX? In 2002, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, was born in Hawthorne, California, just steps from LAX. The whole idea behind SpaceX is to produce reusable spacecraft. This is unlike NASA--because much of NASA's design is decades old, there is a lot of wasted components lost during every launch. With SpaceX, budgets aren't high enough to even consider losing a few boosters during launch.

For example, both of the stages the Falcon 9 rocket undergoes during launch are reusable. The stages are equipped with parachutes designed to bring the components to a gentle sea landing. A marinized coating is also equipped to resist salt water corrosion.

Why is it necessary to produce reusable rocketry? Space travel isn't cheap, and SpaceX has to go out and secure funding on their own. NASA, on the other hand, has much larger budgets that come from the US government. Concern for economics isn't as focused.

For SpaceX, getting anything off the ground requires the most efficient use of resources. There is a lot of excitement in this sector with Musk's company. They are serious about being a space travel company--employees doubled every year since 2002. Musk has even put down $100 million dollars of his own money.

Privatized space travel is looking like a much more viable option considering the recent ending of the shuttle program and NASA's continued budget cuts. With NASA left in a slight limbo stage, they have committed to funding private companies such as SpaceX. Back in 2008, SpaceX won a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

The next step for SpaceX is to get their Dragon space capsule into orbit carrying humans. In 2010, a Dragon mockup was sent into space and successfully orbited the earth twice before coming back down. SpaceX says that within this decade they will send humans up to the ISS.

If everything goes successfully, Mars is next. The plans are already underway. We at TRANSLOGIC hope that a great man's greatest fear does great for all of man.

Click the image below to watch TRANSLOGIC 76: Elon Musk Interview, SpaceX:

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