Test Your Knowledge on SpaceX



9 Questions

What is the goal of SpaceX?

What is Starlink?

What is Starship?

What is Crew Dragon?

What is the purpose of SpaceX's McGregor facility?

What is the purpose of SpaceX's Rocket Development and Test Facility in McGregor, Texas?

What is the purpose of SpaceX's South Texas launch site near Brownsville, Texas?

What is Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)?

What is Blue Origin's accusation against SpaceX?


SpaceX is an American private space company founded by Elon Musk in 2002 with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars.

The company manufactures the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Starship launch vehicles, Cargo Dragon and Crew Dragon spacecraft, and Starlink communications satellites.

SpaceX offers commercial satellite-based internet service via its constellation of Starlink satellites, which became the largest-ever satellite constellation in January 2020 and as of December 2022 comprised more than 3,300 small satellites in orbit.

The company is also developing Starship, a privately funded, fully reusable, super heavy-lift launch system for interplanetary and orbital spaceflight, which made its first flight in April 2023.

SpaceX is the first private company to develop a liquid-propellant rocket that has reached orbit, to launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft, to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station, and to send astronauts to orbit and to the International Space Station.

The company has also achieved vertical propulsive landing of an orbital rocket booster, and the first to reuse such a booster. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets have landed and reflown more than 150 times.

SpaceX developed its first orbital launch vehicle, the Falcon 1, with internal funding. The Falcon 1 was an expendable two-stage-to-orbit small-lift launch vehicle.

In 2015, SpaceX raised $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity, in exchange for 8.33% of the company, establishing the company valuation at approximately $12 billion.

In May 2020, SpaceX successfully launched two NASA astronauts into orbit on a Crew Dragon spacecraft during Crew Dragon Demo-2, making SpaceX the first private company to send astronauts to the International Space Station.

In February 2021, SpaceX raised an additional $1.61 billion in an equity round from 99 investors at a per share value of approximately $420, raising the company valuation to approximately $74 billion.

As of October 2021, the valuation of SpaceX had risen to $100.3 billion.SpaceX has achieved a number of milestones in the development of its launch vehicles, spacecraft, and satellite internet constellation, Starlink. The company has developed the Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, with the latter two being operational and certified to conduct launches for the National Security Space Launch program. SpaceX has also developed several rocket engines, including Merlin, Kestrel, Raptor, Draco, and SuperDraco. The company's Dragon spacecraft has been used to transport cargo and crew to the International Space Station, with a second-generation Dragon spacecraft, known as Dragon 2, conducting its first crewed flight in 2020. SpaceX is also developing a fully reusable super-heavy lift launch system known as Starship, with the system intended to supersede the company's existing launch vehicle hardware by the early 2020s. SpaceX has also developed Starlink, an internet satellite constellation consisting of thousands of cross-linked communications satellites in ~550 km orbits, with over 1 million subscribers worldwide as of December 2022. SpaceX has also engaged in other projects, such as sponsoring a Hyperloop competition and developing a COVID-19 antibody-testing program. The company operates several facilities, including its headquarters and manufacturing plant in Hawthorne, California, and a research and development laboratory in Redmond, Washington. SpaceX operates a Rocket Development and Test Facility in McGregor, Texas, and tests of the much larger Starship prototypes are conducted in the SpaceX South Texas launch site near Brownsville, Texas.SpaceX: Launch Facilities, Contracts, Crewed Missions, and Workplace Culture

Launch Facilities:

  • SpaceX has seven test stands at its McGregor facility, which are operated 18 hours a day, six days a week.
  • The company operates three orbital launch sites at Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, and Kennedy Space Center, with another under construction near Brownsville, Texas.
  • Vandenberg enables highly inclined orbits, while Cape Canaveral enables orbits of medium inclination.
  • SpaceX won demonstration and actual supply contracts from NASA for the International Space Station (ISS) with technology the company developed.
  • SpaceX manufactures and flies Starship test vehicles from Starbase at Boca Chica, Texas.


  • SpaceX won demonstration and actual supply contracts from NASA for the International Space Station (ISS) with technology the company developed.
  • SpaceX is certified for U.S. military launches of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class (EELV) payloads.
  • SpaceX represents over $12 billion under contract with approximately thirty missions on the manifest for 2018 alone.
  • Through the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Phase 1 contract, NASA paid SpaceX $396 million to develop the cargo configuration of the Dragon spacecraft.
  • Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) are a series of contracts awarded by NASA from 2008 to 2016 for delivery of cargo and supplies to the International Space Station on commercially operated spacecraft.

Crewed Missions:

  • SpaceX is responsible for the transportation of NASA astronauts to and from the ISS.
  • In September 2014, NASA chose SpaceX and Boeing as the two companies that would be funded to develop systems to transport U.S. crews to and from the ISS.
  • SpaceX completed the first key flight test of its Crew Dragon spacecraft, a Pad Abort Test, in May 2015.
  • On 30 May 2020, the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission was launched to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the first time a crewed vehicle had launched from the U.S. since 2011.
  • SpaceX also offers paid crewed spaceflights for private individuals.

National Defense:

  • SpaceX also designs and launches custom military satellites for the Space Development Agency as part of a new missile defense system in low Earth orbit.
  • In April 2016, the U.S. Air Force awarded the first national security launch to SpaceX to launch the second GPS III satellite for $82.7 million.

Launch Market Competition and Pricing Pressure:

  • SpaceX's low launch prices have resulted in market pressure on its competitors to lower their own prices.
  • SpaceX ended the United Launch Alliance (ULA) monopoly of U.S. military payloads when it began to compete for national security launches.

Leadership Changes and Workplace Culture:

  • In November 2022, the company announced COO Gwynne Shotwell and vice president Mark Juncosa would oversee Starbase.

  • According to former NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver, the company overall has a male-dominated employee culture.

  • Claims of workplace sexual harassment from five former SpaceX employees were published in December 2021.

  • In May 2022, a Business Insider article alleged that Musk engaged in sexual misconduct with a SpaceX flight attendant in a private jet in 2016.Blue Origin accuses SpaceX of intimidating employees

  • Blue Origin accused SpaceX of intimidating its employees

  • SpaceX allegedly sent unsolicited surveys to Blue Origin employees during work hours

  • Some Blue Origin employees felt pressured to sign the letter

  • Blue Origin described SpaceX as having a work culture that promotes excessive work

  • SpaceX was accused of fostering a burnout culture

  • A memo by Blue Origin claimed that SpaceX expected long work hours, weekend work, and limited use of holidays

  • The accusations were made in a letter to NASA

  • Blue Origin requested NASA to investigate SpaceX's alleged behavior

  • The letter was sent in response to SpaceX's contract with NASA for the lunar lander program

  • Blue Origin also filed a protest against NASA's decision to award the contract to SpaceX

  • The protest was dismissed by the Government Accountability Office

  • Blue Origin has since filed a lawsuit against NASA over the contract decision.


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