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.
Over a 2 hour period the Sun released a massive strand of plasma that split and twisted into what resembles a dragon before falling back to the surface. Captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 12, 2011.
The private rocket company SpaceX, fresh off the success of its Falcon 9 rocket debut, has signed the largest single commercial launch contract with satellite company Iridium Communications, Inc. – a deal worth $492 million.