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10 years ago, SpaceX headed to the International Space Station for the first time.  And the space industry has never been the same - multimedia

10 years ago, SpaceX headed to the International Space Station for the first time. And the space industry has never been the same – multimedia

On May 25, 2012, the International Space Station received one of the deliveries Do not forget in its history. At a weight of 525 kg, the payload included food, water, clothes and computers, but in fact it did not matter at all.

What really mattered was that The delivery aboard the Dragon C2+ capsule, which returned a few days later, on May 31, has arrived successfully. Thus began a whole new era of space exploration.

In fact, everything goes back 10 years ago, in In May 2002, when Elon Musk officially created SpaceXwhich is an acronym for “space exploration”, with the idea of ​​producing solutions for the space industry at low prices, sort of “low cost”, with a focus on Mars of course.

While sending a 250 kg payload into space cost $30 million, Elon Musk claimed that SpaceX’s first rocket, The Falcon 1 will carry 635 kg for only $ 6.9 million. The suggested values ​​revealed a 2.5-fold overload increase, at a cost of just over 20% of the initial value.

Optimistic as usual, the SpaceX mentor said the first engine would be ready in May 2003, with a second engine in June, the rocket body in July and final assembly in August. The launch pad will then be prepared in September with the first launch the following November, that is, All this a little over a year after the company was founded. At that time, planning for the trip to Mars was quickly set for the end of the decade. We now know that plans have fallen through. lightly…

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Expected launch of the first missile low cost to the beginning of 2004, but this actually happened only in 2006. With a height of 21 meters, Falcon 1 – named after the Millennium Falcon spacecraft from the Star Wars saga – can only be launched on March 24, 2006nearly four years after the founding of SpaceX.

The launch was successful, but only in the first 25 seconds: it is said that due to a poorly equipped part by an engineerAnd it ended up falling and exploding. In the following years there were more failed attempts and Success will only come in September 2008, with Falcon 1 making a perfect flight. The rocket went up for the fourth time, now carrying 163 kilograms of “nothing”: it was necessary to use a dummy payload as neither the military nor any company or government accepted to offer anything of value given the history of the results of the launch.

And this is how Falcon 1 – which has made only one commercial flight in its life – became the first machine built specifically to achieve such a feat, After six years of trying and four and a half years more than Elon Musk initially expected.

Next steps: Reuse, head to the International Space Station and then Mars

Although you were busy with Falcon 1, the team of engineers at SpaceX was already on paper The “famous” hawk 9It is a larger-capacity, reusable missile that will further reduce exploration costs. At the same time, SpaceX has also been developing dragon cargo ship. All of this is (largely) guaranteed by a contract she won with NASA.

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The first test of the Falcon 9 took place in July 2010, and unlike with the Falcon 1, it was successful on the first try, making a perfect ride. Besides Falcon 9, Dragon was launched, The first privately owned spacecraft to reach Earth’s orbit and return safely, landing in the Pacific Ocean. Good indications of what will happen in May 2012, when the cargo ship did its job First delivery of supplies to the International Space Station So all are marked A new era of space exploration.

Elon Musk said at the time that the cargo ship’s arrival at the International Space Station marked an “important day for the country and the world,” adding in his grandiose way that the mission set humans on the path to becoming Multiple types of planets.

After that moment, SpaceX increasingly focused on the launch and landing, on land and sea, of SpaceX reusable missiles.

The First landing and recovery Successes occurred in the first stage in December 2015.

Only in April 2016 the company implemented First successful landing on Of Course I Still Love Youin the Atlantic Ocean after several failed attempts.

And in the same year, in September, Elon Musk entered into another contract with NASA, this time providing for Transporting astronauts to the International Space Stationwhich again means the debut of a private company.

But there are other beginnings in SpaceX’s path, such as The first flight by an international crew in a private spacecraft and a NASA-certified rocketin September 2020 – and from the land of North America in nine years – or Official mission, two months later. And what about participating in the first completely private mission to the International Space Station, With astronomers on board?

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Click on the pictures to find out more details about the mission

We haven’t settled on Mars yet and turned into A Multiple types of planets, as Elon Musk aspires, but we’ve undoubtedly come very close to that in the two decades of SpaceX — and other private companies have space as the “last frontier.” In a recent report, Citygroup estimates that space economy It can be anything like $1 billion by 2040compared to 370 billion recorded in 2020, which is mainly due to two factors: Entry of private companies In a sector previously dominated by government agencies and Significant cost reduction.