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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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RE: Good thing
By Laereom on 7/19/2011 11:00:27 AM , Rating: 2
You have a fairly accurate synopsis of the situation, but I'm going to add a bit.

Although NASA is currently SpaceX's largest customer, they only account for about 1/3 of their contracted revenue. Furthermore, they developed their spacecraft entirely on private equity, before any government funding flowed in.

Now, about the lack of profit motive to go into space...

Musk doesn't want or need it, and neither does his company. If he can break even, he'll do it. If he can make money doing commercial satellite launches and use that money to go further into space, he'll do that. In fact, he founded SpaceX because he wanted to go to Mars and he figured this was the cheapest way to do it. Musk has a purpose. To him, the goal isn't just "making money"; he had hundreds of millions of dollars before SpaceX. This company isn't a cash cow. It's the embodiment of the dreams of Elon Musk and his band of merry engineers.

That's why they'll succeed. Money works. Greed (I say that in a good way) is powerful. More powerful, however, is the kind of greed that seizes upon the dreams of the discontent, and that's precisely what drives SpaceX.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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