SPACE COAST DAILY PERSON OF THE YEAR: Space Visionary and Entrepreneur Elon Musk
By Space Coast Daily // January 14, 2018
has captured the imagination of the world in a renaissance of space interest and exploration
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Space visionary and serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has been selected as the Space Coast Person of the Year for his company’s many successes in Brevard County, including the first reflight of an orbital class rocket in history from Kennedy Space Center – a historic milestone on the road to full and rapid rocket reusability.
Musk, more than anyone else, with his first stage rocket landings and futuristic soon-to-be-launched heavy rockets, has captured the imagination of the world in a renaissance of space interest and exploration not seen since the Apollo moon landings.
Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or “SpaceX,” is the world’s fastest-growing provider of launch services and has over 70 future missions on its manifest, representing over $10 billion in contracts.
These include commercial satellite launches as well as NASA and other U.S. Government missions – the vast majority blasting off from the Space Coast.
To add to the excitement, last February Musk announced that the company will attempt to fly two private citizens on a free-return trajectory around the Moon in late 2018.
In 2014, SpaceX became the occupant of one of the Space Coast’s most storied addresses when Musk signed a 20-year lease to occupy the historic Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
The pad was modified to support launches of both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, which included the construction of a horizontal integration facility, similar to that used at existing SpaceX-leased facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
ABOVE VIDEO: Landing Zone 1, also known as LZ-1, is a landing facility for recovering components of SpaceX’s VTVL reusable launch vehicles. The facility was built on land leased in February 2015 from the United States Air Force, on the site of the former Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 13. SpaceX has built Landing Zone 2 at the facility to have a separate landing pad to support Falcon Heavy booster landings. (SpaceX video)
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Making Space History
On May 22, 2012, Musk and SpaceX made history when the company launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with an unmanned capsule.
The vehicle was sent to the International Space Station with 1,000 pounds of supplies for the astronauts stationed there, marking the first time a private company had sent a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Of the launch, Musk said, “I feel very lucky, for us, it’s like winning the Super Bowl.”
In December 2013, SpaceX notched another milestone when Falcon 9 carried a satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit, a distance at which the satellite would lock into an orbital path that matched the Earth’s rotation.
In February 2015, SpaceX launched another Falcon 9 fitted with the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, aiming to observe the extreme emissions from the sun that affect power grids and communications systems on Earth.
With space exploration and the commercial space business back on the front burner, Brevard County is once again poised to be a major economic driver, and Musk can take much of the credit.
Will Soon Launch Astronauts
Currently, SpaceX is flying numerous cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station, for a total of at least 20 flights under the Commercial Resupply Services contract.
In 2016, NASA awarded SpaceX a second version of that contract that will cover a minimum of 6 additional flights from 2019 onward.
Dragon was designed from the outset to carry astronauts to space, and as early as 2018, SpaceX will carry crew as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Currently under development is the Falcon Heavy, which will be the world’s most powerful rocket. All the while, SpaceX continues to work toward one of its key goals—developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets, a feat that will transform space exploration by delivering highly reliable vehicles at radically reduced costs.
The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.
In addition to having facilities at launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX has more than 5,000 employees at its headquarters in Hawthorne, California; Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; a rocket-development facility in McGregor, Texas; and offices in Houston, Texas; Chantilly, Virginia; and Washington, DC. SpaceX has suppliers in all 50 states.
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