The millionaire brainiac behind the Space Exploration
Technologies (SpaceX) program has high ambitions of future private space
exploration. Founder Elon Musk seeks a trip to the Red Planet of Mars before
NASA's mid-2030s current projected timeframe.
Of course, Musk and SpaceX have delayed projects
and failed tests in the past, but have shown
great promise in current projects. SpaceX also continues to collect funds
from NASA and other contractors looking to help go into space.
NASA's interest on the private sector relies on
the hope of being able to use the SpaceX Dragon as an astronaut ferry into
space, while the Falcon Heavy can carry cargo. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy
successfully broke the $1,000-per-pound-to-orbit barrier at a time when space
industry experts thought it couldn't be done at the time.
NASA and the US federal government are relying
more on private contractors to help in the future -- SpaceX and its rivals will
be more than happy to pick up the research slack. The SpaceX Dragon capsule may
be prepared for launch in
the next five years, with thoughts also on manned mission to Mars. Until
then, the company recently announced it will invest $30 million for Space
Launch Complex 4-East, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
It's believed up to 1,000 employees could be
employed at the facility in the next four years. SpaceX plans to launch
aircraft and test projects from the popular launching site, while competitors
look for other launch sites.
The private space market is growing with even more
companies trying to snag government funding -- and SpaceX will have to face the
United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket, along with foreign-based projects.