SpaceX launches the second operational mission of its Crew Dragon vehicle as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, carrying NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, and Akihiko Hoshide to the International Space Station. The Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon lift off from LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center. Both the booster and the capsule have flown previously, each a first for a commercial crew flight. The booster for this mission is expected to land on an ASDS. The mission will be complete with the safe return of the astronauts to Earth.
Starship - Hop Tests
SpaceX is conducting an experimental test program of its future
launch vehicle, the Super Heavy/Starship. Incremental hop tests
will serve to validate landing procedures for a reusable second stage
and a heat shielding technology.
Launch History - Per Year
With an ever-increasing launch cadence, SpaceX has surpassed other
launch providers by annual vehicles launched and continues, nearly year-on-year,
to set vehicle flight records.
Recovery - Boosters Landed
For SpaceX to succeed at reducing the cost of getting payload to
orbit, reusability of launch vehicles is imperative. The first phase
of this involves returning the first stage of the rocket back safely
to Earth intact - an incredibly difficult task involving a
combination of three burns that must be executed perfectly.
Reuse - Reused flights
Once on the ground, the booster must be able to be refurbished and
reflown in minimal time and with minimal cost. Only then can they be
reflown, reducing launch costs significantly.
Payloads - Upmass
SpaceX has launched a total of 723 metric tons worth of
payloads into a variety of orbits, including interplanetary
missions. With Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, SpaceX is able to cover
most orbit and mission types. These payloads can have a variety of
masses, from the smallest cubesats which can weigh less than 1
kilogram, to huge comsats over 5 tonnes.
Starlink - In Space
SpaceX is developing a low latency, broadband internet system to
meet the needs of consumers across the globe. Enabled by a
constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, Starlink will provide
fast, reliable internet to populations with little or no
connectivity, including those in rural communities and places where
existing services are too expensive or unreliable.
Dragon - Missions
Dragon is SpaceX's orbital spacecraft, and has flown
28 times atop of a Falcon 9 rocket. In December
2010, Dragon became the first privately developed spacecraft to be
successfully recovered from orbit. Dragon 2 extends Dragon's ability
to carry not only cargo, but crew too.
People - Dragonriders
Dragon 2, developed as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Transportation
Capability (CCtCap) program, flew for the first time in May 2020. 6 different people were sent to space by SpaceX
Timelines - Elon Musk's Bet
In April 2009, Michael S. Malone revealed, while interviewing Elon
Musk, that the two had a bet that SpaceX would put a man on Mars by
"2020 or 2025". Musk has continued to reiterate this rough timeframe
since. This countdown clock expires on 1 January 2026, at 00:00 UTC.
No pressure, Elon.