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In the upcoming years, SpaceX has extremely high ambitions for space travel to Mars

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.

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Where did all the money go
By tygrus on 7/19/2011 9:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure NASA could get people and cargo into space at lower cost if they could keep the money that is going to the outside companies and contracts. NASA costs too much so we'll give someone else 4 years of R&D money, $100B worth of previous R&D results and free equipment and surprise surprise they can get a rocket into space cheaper. You just gave them a $120B head start.

RE: Where did all the money go
By FPP on 7/25/2011 7:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
The fact is, NASA is a bureaucracy, not the cutting - edge R&D entity it once was. The Shuttle was designed by committee. it is roughly ten times more expensive to launch that Spacex's Falcon 9 series.

Spacex studied every launcher and arrived atit's design for reliability, not cost. It then realized the rocket(s) would hav eto do both unmanned andmanned duty to be cost-effective. They arrived at the Saturn V as the most reliable example and took the best lessons from it...kerosense fuel and ganged engines. They realized they could build a range of sizes with a single engine. They realized that, in order to compete successfully and drop costs, they must build essentailly all of it internally.

Spacex developed, tested and successfully launched both prototypes for less than $800 million! They will sell a Launch for $133 million, the only rocket company to publicly admit this, which is about 13% of any of the alternatives NASA is producing. (ARES)

NASA needs to just pay the development money and get this rocket and system man-rated and tested. Politics is blocking it. Golly, what a surprise.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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