Space Exploration Technologies wants to be the go-to cargo company for space. Also known as SpaceX, the company provides a route to orbit for companies deploying satellites and it hauls supplies to the International Space Station. The company's launch rockets are Falcon 9, which can push more than 50,00 pounds of payload into low-Earth orbit, and Falcon Heavy, which can carry a load nearly three times heavier. SpaceX's customers include NASA and the National Reconnaissance Office, the Pentagon's spy-satellite arm. The company has also put into orbit its own satellites for broadband internet service. Hauling cargo is SpaceX's day job. Its longer term mission: transport people and equipment to the moon and Mars.
SpaceX pays its bills by putting satellites in orbit. It does work for government agencies and telecommunications and satellite companies. The company designs, develops, makes, and launches its rockets. The company maintains a relatively low-cost-launch structure, which features rockets designed to return to Earth for re-use. Two of the three booster rockets that launched the Falcon Heavy in 2018 touched down on the launch site after they sent the payload – a Tesla Roadster owned by Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Inc. – into space.
Besides its launch vehicles, SpaceX makes the Dragon spacecraft, which carries cargo and can carry people. Besides getting stuff into space, it can bring significant amounts of cargo back to Earth. In 2019, the Dragon spacecraft became the first American spacecraft to autonomously dock with the International Space Station.
SpaceX is based in Hawthorne, California. The company has launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and Boca Chica, Texas. It also has a rocket-development facility in McGregor, Texas; and offices in Houston; Chantilly, Virginia; and Washington, DC.
SpaceX aims to achieve space flight economically by using a more open management structure, carrying out its own manufacturing, and focusing on simple designs. A critical element is that its rockets are designed to be used again and again rather than splashing into the ocean. The company has contracts with public agencies and private companies for more than 100 launches valued at more than $12 billion.
The company plans to support its space activities with its satellite-based internet service, Starlink. SpaceX has put some 100 Starlink satellites into orbit and plans to launch more (the total could go as a high as 11,000) to offer broadband internet service around the world. The global telecommunications is a much bigger market than space cargo and offers a larger return on investment. However, Starlink will be expensive to get off the ground (estimates go as high as $10 billion) and it faces competition not only from Earthbound internet services, but Amazon also plans a satellite-based internet service.
Although founded in 2002, SpaceX remains a private company and continues to raise money from investors in private placements. The company is valued at more than $30 billion.
SpaceX does not lack for awareness with Elon Musk as its CEO. Musk's high public profile and his prolific social media posts guarantee widespread exposure for SpaceX's activities.
1 Rocket Rd
Hawthorne, CA 90250-6844
Phone: 1 (310) 363-6000
Employer Type: Privately Owned
VP, Propulsion Development: Tom Mueller
CEO and Chief Designer: Elon Musk
President and COO: Gwynne Shotwell
Employees (This Location): 887
Employees (All Locations): 7,251