3 Projects of Space X That Will Revolutionize Space Exploration

After Tesla’s Cyber truck’s ‘smashing’ demonstration, Elon Musk is again in news but for different reasons. Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX is looking to raise $250 million, valuing the space company at $36 billion, up from $33.3 billion previously. In less than two decades, SpaceX went from Elon Musk’s dream of a greenhouse experiment on Mars to conducting the majority of U.S. rocket launches. The company has already achieved milestones like landing rockets both on solid ground and ocean, making history in space. The year 2020 is a critical year for the company because of its plan to execute three important projects- Crew Dragon, Starlink and Starship. Let’s dive deeper into these programs and gain insights.

Crew Dragon
Dragon, one of the major ambitious projects of SpaceX, is the free-flying spacecraft of SpaceX. The pressurized section of the capsule is designed to carry cargo as well as people (with upper limit of 7) to orbiting destinations. Its capability of returning significant amounts of cargo back to Earth makes it unique in the space industry. The first demo flight was launched under NASA's Commercial Crew Program on 2nd March, 2019 at 2:49 a.m. ET. The Dragon spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on 3rd of March, in the same year, at 6:02 a.m. ET, becoming the first American spacecraft in history to do so autonomously.
The Draco thrusters with the nose cone facilitate orbital manoeuvring. Dragon’s trunk carries unpressurized cargo as well as supports the spacecraft during ascent. Crew Dragon is built to fly not only NASA astronauts to the ISS, but also private space tourists on multi-day space missions. The agency has invested massively, more than $3.1 billion to develop the Crew Dragon capsule since the company won its first contract for the capsule in 2014. Furthermore, SpaceX has shelled "hundreds of millions of dollars" of its own funds for the development of the project Crew Dragon. The Crew Dragon capsule for SpaceX's first astronaut flight arrived in Florida last week. The capsule is now undergoing prelaunch processing and final testing. 

The mega-project Starlink is the company's ambitious plan to create satellite constellations to provide satellite high-speed Internet access across the globe. Also referred as a "mega-constellation," Starlink is speculated to consist of an interconnected system of about 12,000 mass-produced small satellites coordinating with ground transceivers
The estimated final cost to design, build, and deploy the constellation comes out to be about US$10 billion. The product development had started in 2015, while the first two prototype test-flight satellites were launched in February 2018. The second set of test satellites and the first large deployment of a piece of the constellation occurred in May 2019 when the first 60 operational satellites were launched. The main satellite development facility is in Redmond, Washington. So far SpaceX has launched around 300 of such satellites, sending them in batches of 60 at a time.
Furthermore, SpaceX even plans to expand this project for military, scientific, or exploratory purposes, and commercial purposes as well. 
The Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy rocket are collectively referred to as Starship. It signifies a fully reusable transportation system with integrated payload section designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, and beyond. Starship is speculated to be the world's most powerful launch vehicle ever developed in space industry history, with propellant capacity 1200t and payload capacity 100+t. The man behind the project, Elon Musk aspires Starship to be a ‘fully’ reusable rocket, much like a commercial airplane, that can carry as many as 100 people to the moon and the red planet Mars.
The Starship building-facility is in southern Texas. The launchpads are under construction in Texas as well as in Florida. Furthermore, SpaceX is would be signing a lease with the Los Angeles Port, where it plans to build a major manufacturing facility on about 18 acres of land (near the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California).
With reusable-rocket technology and other initiatives, SpaceX has already made its mark in not just exploring the infinite reaches of the Universe but also in finding solutions to human resettlement and space tourism. We wish Mr. Musk and his company success for the project completion. 

- Written By: Prateek Bansal
- Edited By: Purav Nayak

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3 Projects of Space X That Will Revolutionize Space Exploration 3 Projects of Space X That Will Revolutionize Space Exploration Reviewed by EMN on March 08, 2020 Rating: 5

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