Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is a commercial company aiming to launch cargo, and eventually people, to low-Earth orbit. The firm is developing its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 booster under contracts from NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program and its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.
The private spaceflight companies Blue Origin and SpaceX have both made big strides toward developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets, which advocates say could open a new era of exploration by slashing the cost of spaceflight.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has launched rockets, spaceships and electric cars, and after his stint on CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" last night, he can add TV sitcom to his epic list of achievements.
A team from Israel called SpaceIL has signed a contract to launch its robotic lunar lander toward the moon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the second half of 2017. SpaceIL is therefore a strong contender to win the Google Lunar X Prize.