History Timeline 2010's

Photo above: Jefferson Memorial. Right: Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., 2016. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

USA Cuba Diplomatic Relations

U.S. Timeline - 2010s

Economic Recovery

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  • Timeline

  • Detail - 2017

    March 30, 2017 - SpaceX, the private aeronautic firm, engages in first reflight of an orbital class rocket, which can land vertically on a platform in its goal to reduce space flight costs and initiate space tourism.

    Space X Rocket Landing on Sea Platform

    Bold. Brilliant. Private. As NASA pulls back from its role as the preeminent space exploration entity on earth, private companies in the United States and abroad are taking dramatic steps to fill in the gap. SpaceX, the private aeronautic firm founded by controversial entrepreneur and scientist Elon Musk, has been pursuing the private commercialization of space exploration and travel by developing resuable rockets and fuel tanks in order to cut the costs of space travel and eventually make it to Mars with ships that can hold up to one hundred passengers. Bold. Brilliant. Private.

    On March 30, 2017, Musk and his SpaceX engineers engaged in one of those bold and spectacular achievements. As millions watched, the Falcon 9 B1021 booster was relaunched from the Kennedy Space Center, the first time in the history of rocketry a booster had been used a second time. It flew, boosted, came back to earth, and landed vertically on a ship as if placed down by hand. The Falcon 9 booster had previously flown one year before, April 8, 2016, landed, and was recovered for this second use. The March 30 mission was engaged to launch the SES-10 Satellite.

    Watch the SpaceX Program, March 30, 2017

    The developments of SpaceX in 2017 had been prepared by its mission, noted in 2011, to develop the reusable crafts, as well as a successful landing in vertical position of the Falcon 9 in 2015. To date, SpaceX has been testing its systems with unmanned flights. In 2019, the Dragon 2 is scheduled to fly with humans; the first private passenger later to fly to the moon.

    Development of SpaceX

    SpaceX, or Space Exploration Development Corporation, was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. His goal for SpaceX, develop reusable rockets to limit costs and colonize Mars. To achieve this, they would develop the Falcon series of rockets and the Dragon series of spacecraft. With the limits of NASA in an era without a true launch vehicle on their own, SpaceX and their Dragon craft would deliver the first private payload to the International Space Station in 2012; to date, September 2018, they had flown over a dozen such resupply missions to the station in conjunction with NASA. SpaceX goal per cost upon startup was to charge only ten percent of the going price while still turning a profit. Since 2002, SpaceX has grown to over six thousand employees with a total revenue stream since inception of $12 billion.

    "If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred. A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space," Elon Musk.

    What is the timetable to reach Mars for SpaceX? Unmanned cargo ships are to arrive on the planet in 2022 with the intial goals to find water and build propellant plants. Two years later, the first people are to arrive and eventually build a Mars colony.

    What's Up With Elon Musk

    Born in South Africa in 1971 to a South African father and Canadian mother, Elon Musk developed an interest in computer technology and studied at Queen's University before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in business and physics.

    His first firm, began with his brother and funded by investors, Zip 2 was sold to Compaq, netting Musk $22 million for his seven percent share. He used part of that profit to found a company, X.com, which merged with a firm that eventually became Paypal. When Paypal was sold to Ebay in 2002, Musk netted $165 million of the $1.5 billion sales price. Using $100 million of that profit, Elon Musk founded SpaceX in May 2002.

    Elon Musk is also involved with a number of other business ventures beyond SpaceX, including Tesla, which manufactures electric cars and powertrain systems; SolarCity, the second largest supplier of solar systems in the United States and now a subsidiary of Tesla; Hyperloop, to develop high speed transportation systems using vacuum tubes; and others in the artificial intelligence field. As of 2018, Musk was worth an estimated $20.2 billion.

    Photo above: Space X rocket landing on a drone ship, 2015. Courtesy SpaceX via Wikipedia Commons. Photo below: Iridium 4 Mission flying over SpaceX headquarters, 2017. Courtesy SpaceX via Wikipedia Commons. Info source: SpaceX; Wikipedia Commons.

    Space X

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