National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center


SpaceX, also known as Space Exploration Technologies, was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. Located in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX was established with a purpose to develop launch vehicles that are a lot different than those 40 years ago; less expensive and allows for better space exploration. Other than the site in Hawthorne, there are 3 other sites located in Omelek, Kwjalein Atoll; McGregor, TX; and Cape Canaveral, FL.  Currently, there are approximately 1100 employees

Our tour guide, Kelly Connors, took us around the lab, but pictures could not be taken for security purposes. One of the models we were informed about was the mark-up of the Dragon Capsule. It is designed to seat 7 astronauts, and it has a thermal protection system located on the bottom of the capsule which is indicated by a beige color. After its mission, it lands in the Pacific Ocean.  Most composites, or hardware, are built in-house while working with Boeing on drawings.  It usually takes 2 weeks for the propulsion department to assemble the engines from scratch.  Some rooms included within this laboratory were the Avionics Clean Room and Test Lab where they do environmental testing and the Assembly Station where they perform wire and cable harnessing.

The last mission performed was the first flight of Falcon 9 on June 4, 2010.  A video was prepared per our view of the flight.  There, they showed that the flight had two stages.  During the first stage, the speed of the shuttle was 6960 mph, and the second stage was 16,400 mph.