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The Race into Space

During the early 2000’s, unbeknownst to the general public, the next great space race was taking place. Companies such as Richard Branson’s ‘Virgin Galactic’, Jeff Bezos’ ‘Blue Origin’, and Elon Musk’s ‘Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) were all vying for a long-term contract with NASA.

The United States space program had long decided to retire their fleet of Space Shuttles, and replace them with a yet-to-be-created transportation system in between 2010 and 2020.

Thus competition between these private industry space moguls began. Virgin Galactic made its historic private flight into space in 2004, and the race was on.

In 2012 SpaceX made commercial space industry history for a second time, when they successfully docked with the International Space Station via their unmanned ‘Dragon Capsule’.

That day marked the first time any robotic vehicle had ever coupled with the I.S.S., and it secured a $1 Billion contract with NASA for 12 more such launches.

SpaceX, founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk, has a long track record of accomplishing the impossible, and innovating space transportation in big ways. One of their greatest achievements was the development of their ‘Falcon Heavy’ rocket–the strongest and biggest rocket ever created. With twice the payload capacity of the Space Shuttle, the Falcon Heavy is set to attract a lot of customers in the near future.

Investing over $100 million of his own money to start the company, Paypal co-founder Elon Musk truly believes in SpaceX’s mission. His long term vision is to become the first commercial space company to land on Mars. They have even created merchandise to popularize their goal, which you can view on their website.

Many people view SpaceX as humanity’s greatest chance at one day reaching beyond the limitations of our solar system and truly exploring the stars. At SpaceX’s current speed of accelerated development, and Musk’s ambitious and lofty mission plan, SpaceX is set to land on Mars before the end of 2030. For now, we can sit back and appreciate that we live in an age where private industry is beginning to work towards the betterment of humanity, rather than simply the growth of their wallets.

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