From zero to hero in 18 years: How SpaceX became a nation-state

SpaceX's momentous Crew Dragon launch is a sign of things to come for the space industry, and humanity's future.

Photo:Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • SpaceX was founded in 2002 and was an industry joke for many years. Eighteen years later, it is the first private company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
  • Today, SpaceX's Crew Dragon launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. The journey will take about 19 hours.
  • Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, looks at SpaceX's journey from startup to a commercial space company with the operating power of a nation-state.
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WATCH: Neil deGrasse Tyson to commentate SpaceX's historic mission to ISS

The Demo-2 mission represents a new era for American spaceflight.

  • On Wednesday afternoon, SpaceX is set to become the first private company to launch humans into orbit.
  • The company's Crew Dragon, launched by the Falcon 9 rocket, is scheduled to take two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson will host the American Museum of Natural History's live-stream coverage of the launch.
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These 7 countries and companies are going to Mars in the 2020s

Here's what the world's space agencies hope to learn about the Red planet.

INNSPACE
  • Three nations have plans to send unmanned missions to Mars in summer 2020: the United States, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • SpaceX has discussed executing both manned and unmanned Mars missions this decade, though the company describes these dates as "aspirational."
  • Each space agency plans to study a different aspect of Mars, though searching for signs of past life is a common theme among the missions.
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Tom Cruise is going to space to film an action movie

The 57-year-old is teaming up with NASA and SpaceX for the film project, which is to be set aboard the International Space Station.

Universal Pictures
  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the project on Tuesday via Twitter.
  • The project — an action-adventure movie — would be the first narrative film shot in space.
  • It's unclear how Cruise will get to the space station. Later this May, SpaceX and NASA plan to send American astronauts to the ISS aboard a SpaceX vehicle.
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Elon Musk sells seats on SpaceX moon mission to Japanese billionaire

The billionaire is also inviting eight artists along with him. It would be the first time a civilian crew has participated in a mission to the moon.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (left) shakes hands with Yusaka Maezawa, the Japanese billionaire chosen by the company to fly around the moon. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
  • The billionaire is Yusaku Maezawa, a 42-year-old Japanese entrepreneur who founded the clothing website Zozo.
  • Maezawa, SpaceX's first paying passenger, purchased all the open seats on the first-of-its-kind mission.
  • Maezawa is calling the mission an art project, dubbed #dearMoon.
  • Elon Musk says Maezawa's risky investment in #dearMoon has "done a lot to restore my faith in humanity."
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