DID has covered SpaceX’s role in DARPA’s Responsive Small Spacelift Launch Vehicles program with its Falcon I design, and noted the Low-Earth Orbit launch contracts it had secured for various customers. RSSLV is designed to create a less expensive, quick launch capability. Yet SpaceX is developing a whole family of launch rockets, and recently announced a much larger Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) class rocket called the Falcon 9.
It’s a long way from the venture’s beginnings, when PayPal founder (and SpaceX CEO) Elon Musk noted that “The computer and Internet revolutions have given a great deal of capital to the ‘Star Wars’ fans.” SpaceX stuck to its original plan – giving private firms and government agencies that want to launch satellites a $6 million alternative to the cheapest existing rockets, which now cost $30 million per flight. Now, it’s branching out.