Private Spaceflight Programs

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SpaceShipOne Takeoff

In the US, there are lot of private activities, driven by entrepreneurs restarting innovation in the area of private spaceflight. Private spaceflight is flight above 100 km (62 mi) Earth altitude conducted by and paid for by an entity other than a government. In the early decades of the Space Age, the government space agencies of the Soviet Union and United States pioneered space technology augmented by collaboration with affiliated design bureaus in the USSR and private companies in the US.




Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, is a space transport company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both of which were designed from conception to eventually become reusable. SpaceX also developed the Dragon spacecraft to be flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, initially transporting cargo and later planned to carry humans.

On 25 May 2012, SpaceX made history as the world's first privately held company to send a cargo payload, carried on the Dragon spacecraft, to the International Space Station.

By May 2012, SpaceX had contracts for 40 launch missions. Falcon 9 is designed for single use, Grasshopper is planned reusable.

Grasshopper is an experimental technology-demonstrator, suborbital reusable launch vehicle (RLV), a vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) rocket announced in 2011 for low-altitude testing that began in 2012.

SpaceX, Grasshoppers Testflight

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SpaceX - Falcon 9, Flight 2

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Scaled Composites

Scaled Composites (often abbreviated as Scaled) is an Aerospace company founded by Burt Rutan and currently owned by Northrop Grumman that is located at the Mojave Spaceport, Mojave, California, United States. Prior to acquisition by Northrop Grumman, the company was founded to develop experimental Aircraft, but now focuses on designing and developing concept craft and prototype fabrication processes for aircraft and other vehicles. It is known for unconventional designs, for its use of non-metal, composite materials, and for winning the Ansari X Prize with its experimental spacecraft SpaceShipOne.

Company history
Scaled Composites was established in 1982 and purchased by the Beech Aircraft Corporation in 1985, as a result of the collaboration on the Starship project. In 1988, Beech's parent company, Raytheon, sold Scaled back to Rutan, who then sold it to Wyman-Gordon. After Wyman-Gordon was acquired by Precision Castparts Corp., Rutan and ten investors re-acquired the company as Scaled Composites, LLC. Northrop Grumman, a major shareholder in the company with a 40% stake, said it would acquire the company outright on July 20, 2007. Both companies said Northrop Grumman's acquisition would not affect Scaled Composites' strategy or involve replacing Burt Rutan as senior manager.

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