Founded by Elon Musk in 2002, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, is a space transport services company. SpaceX’s stated intention is to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles and the Dragon spacecraft.
In 2006, NASA awarded SpaceX a Commercial Orbit Transportation Services Contract to design and demonstrate a launch system to resupply cargo to the International Space Station; as of 2014, SpaceX has flown four missions to the ISS. NASA also awarded the company a contract to develop and demonstrate a human-rated Dragon as part of its Commercial Crew Development program to transport crew to the ISS.
SpaceX is planning its first crewed Dragon/Falcon 9 flight in 2015. SpaceX’s historic achievements include the first privately funded, liquid-fueled rock to reach orbit (September 2008); the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft (December 2009); the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (May 2012); and the first private company to send a satellite into geosynchronous orbit (December 2013).
Besides NASA, SpaceX has also signed contracts with private sector companies, non-American government agencies and the American military.