What is SpaceX?

SpaceX recently became the first private company to send astronauts into orbit

Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, is a private aerospace company founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in May 2002.

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The space services company designs and manufactures spacecraft, rockets, satellites and offers a "rideshare" service — an opportunity for private citizens to reserve a space flight that costs upwards of $1 million, according to the company's website.

"You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great — and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about," Musk's mission statement for the company reads. "It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars."

A SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, May 30, 2020. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

SpaceX's website touts 92 launches, 55 landings and 37 reflown rockets. The company has had its fair share of failed launches but has since proven its credibility.

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SpaceX, in partnership with NASA, sent U.S. astronauts into orbit for the first time in a decade on May 30 since the government retired NASA's Space Shuttle in 2011. It also became the first private company to send astronauts into orbit.

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Musk also plans to reshape the future of broadband internet service with SpaceX's Starlink project, which aims to bring free internet service to rural areas across the globe by 2021 or 2022.

SpaceX may potentially have 42,000 Starlink satellites launching in total if the company receives approval from the International Telecommunication Union.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission gave approval to SpaceX to launch 12,000 Starlink satellites into orbit but delayed its decision on June 10 to approve or deny the company's request to send as many as 42,000 units into space, according to space news outlet Space.com.

There are currently 538 Starlink satellites in orbit.

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The aerospace manufacturer is currently valued at $36 billion, according to CNBC, making it one of the most valuable private companies in the U.S.

SpaceX "is the only private company capable of returning a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit" and will soon "be the first private company to take humans" to the International Space Station, as well, according to its website.

The company has focused its efforts largely on creating reusable rockets and making spaceflight as simple and affordable as possible.

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