The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images

SpaceX creates breathtaking images of space and space infrastructure as it continues its mission to revolutionize space travel.

Since SpaceX was formed in 2002, it has been breaking records and making headlines for its ambitious plans for space travel and research.

SpaceX is headed by PayPal founder and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. 

Musk carries a reputation for being singularly focused on his ambitions and dreams.  Musk who made roughly $1.6 million when he sold PayPal to eBay in 2002. 

With the goal to reduce the cost of space travel, SpaceX was founded the same year Musk sold PayPal to eBay in 2002.

Like all good startups SpaceX is very good at self-promotion and between Elon Musk's private Twitter and Instagram accounts and the company's Flickr stream, SpaceX has provided us with a huge catalog of stunning images. 

Ranging from the power of their numerous rocket launches to the wonder of space, we have selected some of our favorite SpaceX images for you to enjoy. 

The PAZ mission, building space broadband

On the 22 February 2018, SpaceX launched one of it's Falcon 9 rockets carrying some very important payload.

On board was a Spanish radar imaging satellite called PAZ along with two prototype satellites that will form part of a test of SpaceX's new low Earth orbit broadband network.  

The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr

The Falcon Heavy Launch, stepping into history

SpaceX operates the world's most powerful operational rocket, the Falcon Heavy.

The huge rocket successfully launched on February 6th, 2018 at 3:45 pm. 

The historic launch was watched by thousands of people all over the world both in person and via a live stream link. The rocket is actually made up of three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together. 

As SpaceX aims to reduce costs of flights by reusing rockets, all three thrusters were expected to land again on earth.

Two out of three made it home. Thrusters LZ1 and LZ2 made it back to earth without a hitch, landing in sync back at the Kennedy Air Force Station. 

The third thruster was scheduled to land on a SpaceX ocean-based landing pad called “Of Course I Still Love You", however, the thruster did not make it.  

The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr 
The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr
The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr
The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr

 The GovSat-1 Mission delivering a satellite

On the 31st January 2018, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the GovSat-1 satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The GovSat-1 Satellite is the first satellite from GovSat, a public-private partnership between the Government of Luxembourg and the satellite operator SES. 

The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr
The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr

The Zuma Mission: a big secret

While SpaceX is generally happy to share lots of information about its missions, one mission is so secretive, no one can confirm the details. 

What we do know is that a Falcon 9 rocket left Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on January 7, 2017, with a payload built by defense contractor Northrop Grumman intended for low earth orbit. 

The customer is an unidentified U.S. intelligence agency. 

This is SpaceX's third secretive mission. SpaceX has previously launched an X-37B space plane for the U.S. Air Force and an NROL-76 spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr
The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr

The Iridium Missions: 75 satellites building a constellation

SpaceX has carried out four missions carrying payloads for Iridiuma global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications.

The last mission Iridium-4 carried a set of 10 satellites from a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next-generation global satellite constellation, Iridium® NEXT.

The next mission is expected to happen in March 2018.

The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr

ISS Resupply Missions: The Dragon carrying 6,400 pounds

SpaceX rockets perform critical re-fuelling missions for the International Space Station (ISS).

To complete these missions a Falcon Heavy Rocket sends a Dragon spacecraft to low-Earth orbit carrying fuel and supply for the base.

The Dragons typically carry 6,400 pounds of supplies and payloads to support the work of the astronauts aboard the ISS.

SpaceX has an agreement to complete twenty re-supply missions between Earth and the International Space Station under its first contract with NASA.

The contract means the USA now has a way to be an integral part of the resupply mission, as the Dragon is the only uncrewed vehicle capable of returning a payload.

The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr
The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr

Reuse and Recycle: a Focus for SpaceX

SpaceX has the ongoing goal of reducing the cost of space launches and space exploration.

It has achieved this in part by building rockets that are reusable. The Falcon Heavy booster is designed to land back on earth after launch.  

SpaceX says the booster forms about 70% of the total cost of a launch, so by reusing these boosters, they are able to save themselves and their customers millions of dollars. 

The boosters are programmed to return to land either close to the original launch site or on to one of two remote drone-ships acting as landing pads.

The two drone-ships called 'Of Course I Still Love You' (OCISLY) and 'Just Read the Instructions' (JRTI).

OCISLY services launch from Port Canaveral and JTRI is ready to recover boosters from launches at Vandenberg. 

The relatively cheap cost of a SpaceX launch has created some fierce competition among the world of space startups.

United Launch Alliance is working hard to drop the cost of its Atlas 5 rocket to bring it into the zone of SpaceX pricing.

The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr
The Best Moments from SpaceX Launches in 17 Spectacular Images
Source: SpaceX/Flickr
 

On the rocket LZ

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

The future of SpaceX 

SpaceX has big plans for the future. According to their website, they have more than forty missions already planned for the near future.

Elon Musk also has his eyes set on Mars, he hopes there will be a  mission to the red planet before 2025.  

Via: SpaceX

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