(Hawthorne, CA) –
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) today won a $440 million
contract with NASA to develop the successor to the Space Shuttle and
transport American astronauts into space.
is a decisive milestone in human spaceflight and sets an exciting
course for the next phase of American space exploration,” said SpaceX
CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk. “SpaceX, along with our partners at
NASA, will continue to push the boundaries of space technology to
develop the safest, most advanced crew vehicle ever flown.”
expects to undertake its first manned flight by 2015 – a timetable that
capitalizes on the proven success of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket and
Dragon spacecraft combination. While Dragon is initially being used to
transport cargo to the International Space Station, both Dragon and
Falcon 9 were designed from the beginning to carry crew.
the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative’s base
period, SpaceX will make the final modifications necessary to prepare
Dragon to safely transport astronauts into space. These include:
· Seats for seven astronauts.
most technically advanced launch escape system ever developed, with
powered abort possibilities from launch pad to orbit. SpaceX will
demonstrate that Dragon will be able to escape a launch-pad emergency by
firing integrated SuperDraco engines to carry the spacecraft safely to
the ocean. SpaceX will also conduct an in-flight abort test that allows
Dragon to escape at the moment of maximum aerodynamic drag, again by
firing the SuperDraco thrusters to carry the spacecraft a safe distance
from the rocket.
· A breakthrough propulsive landing system for gentle ground touchdowns on legs.
· Refinements and rigorous testing of essential aspects of Dragon’s design, including life-support systems and an advanced cockpit design complete with modern human interfaces.
will perform stringent safety and mission-assurance analyses to
demonstrate that all these systems meet NASA requirements.
a minimal number of stage separations, all-liquid rocket engines that
can be throttled and turned off in an emergency, engine-out capability
during ascent, and powered abort capability all the way to orbit, the
Falcon 9-Dragon combination will be the safest spacecraft ever
designs, manufactures and launches the world's most advanced rockets
and spacecraft. With a diverse manifest of more than 40 launches to
resupply the space station and deliver commercial and government
satellites to orbit, SpaceX is the world's fastest growing launch
services provider. In 2012, SpaceX made history when its Dragon
spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle to successfully attach to
the International Space Station—a feat previously achieved by only four
governments. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, the SpaceX
Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are carrying cargo, and one day
will carry astronauts, to and from the space station for NASA. Founded
in 2002 by Elon Musk, SpaceX is a private company owned by management
and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper
Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has more than
1,800 employees in California, Texas, Florida and Washington, DC. For
more information, visit www.spacex.com.