Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has many pads, on the East Coast of the US they own SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral and LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center for their lower inclination launches. They also own SLC-4E at Vandenberg, California for their high inclination launches. Another site is also being developed at Boca Chica, Texas.
SpaceX launched the Dragon spacecraft on their 17th operational cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station. The flight was conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.
The International Space Station programme is tied together by a complex set of legal, political and financial agreements between the sixteen nations involved in the project, governing ownership of the various components, rights to crewing and utilization, and responsibilities for crew rotation and resupply of the International Space Station. It was conceived in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, during the Space Station Freedom project as it was originally called.
Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) are a series of flights awarded by NASA for the delivery of cargo and supplies to the International Space Station.The first CRS contracts were signed in 2008 and awarded $1.6 billion to SpaceX for twelve cargo Dragon and $1.9 billion to Orbital Sciences for eight Cygnus flights, covering deliveries to 2016. The Falcon 9 and Antares rockets were also developed under the CRS program to deliver cargo spacecraft to the ISS.
Filled with more than 4,200 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is set to return to Earth from the International Space Station Monday, June 3. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of the craft’s release scheduled for 12:05 p.m. EDT (16:05 p.m UTC).