Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is all about rocket science. Founded by Paypal and Tesla's Elon Musk in 2002, they've been disrupting the global launch industry for years and are quietly one one of the coolest companies in the world. Here are ten things you (probably) didn't know about them.

Author: Enzo Vito | Photography: SpaceX


They're the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.

SpaceX Dragon berthed to International Space Station

The Falcon 9 is named after the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. The "9" denotes the number of rocket engines a rocket has.

Falcon 9 rocket launches DSCOVR satellite into deep space orbit

Dragon, SpaceX's capsule spacecraft, carried a wheel of cheese on its first test flight as an homage to Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Dragon capsule in orbit

The barge SpaceX land their rockets on is named "Just Read The Instructions" in honor of a ship from Iain M. Banks' book series.

Falcon 9 liftoff

SpaceX is attempting to build 4,000 broadband satellites for the purpose of enabling global internet access.

Dragon capsule in orbit

They almost ran out of money. SpaceX's first rocket, the Falcon 1, failed to reach orbit three out of five attempted launches. They succeeded on their fourth launch, but came very close to running out of cash.

Dragon capsule

Elon Musk taught himself rocket science. No big deal.

Falcon 9 rocket

Once the rocket is launched, it is completely automated. Even the landings!

Falcon 9 launch

Elon Musk doesn't plan to make SpaceX a public company until the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT), the rocket that will ferry people to Mars, is regularly flying.

Dragon berthed to International Space Station

SpaceX's ultimate goal is to ferry people on the MCT to a Mars colony for as little as $500,000 per person. Crazy...but possible.

Falcon 9 rocket liftoff