Rocket and Space Exploration Technologies Essay example

1538 Words May 24th, 2009 7 Pages
Running head: SpaceX



SpaceX is a well known private launch service provider in the commercial space transportation industry. Awarded with a NASA Launch Services contract, SpaceX is taking the industry by storm with low cost and ambitious operations. This paper will describe their background, operations, successes, shortcomings, safety aspects and their role in commercial space transportation.


Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is a launch vehicle service provider in the commercial space travel industry. Their main focus is to increase the capability and reliability of commercial launch vehicles while reducing the cost of accessing space (Space Exploration Technologies
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The elapse time between liftoff and payload deployment is 580 seconds (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, 2008).

The falcon 1 has been tested in four flights to date. The first three flights were failures in which each one experienced a different problem. The first test flight was launched on March 24, 2006 and ended after about a minute of flight due to a fuel leak which caused a fire. The cause of the leak was claimed by corrosion from aluminum bolts. All hardware was later replaced by stainless steel hardware to prevent this from happening again. The second flight was launched on March 21, 2007. It lost control in the second stage and failed to reach orbit (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2007). After making minor adjustments, the third flight was launched on August 3, 2008. This flight carried satellites for both NASA and the Air Force. This flight failed to reach orbit due to stage separation malfunction. This problem was corrected by increasing the time between the first stage engine shutdown and stage separation. The fourth flight was a total success. The vehicle was carrying a payload mass simulator of 165 kg. Originally flight four was scheduled to carry a Malaysian satellite but was later pushed to Flight five. Flight five is in production and will be complete in January 2009. SpaceX is currently building a Falcon 1 every four months and hopes to double

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