SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has more than 3,000 employees at its headquarters in Hawthorne, California; launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; a rocket-development facility in McGregor, Texas; and offices in Houston, Texas; Chantilly, Virginia; and Washington, DC.
SpaceX has gained worldwide attention for a series of historic milestones. It is the only private company ever to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in December 2010. The company made history again in May 2012 when ts Dragon spacecraft attached to the International Space Station, exchanged cargo payloads, and returned safely to Earth — a technically challenging feat previously accomplished only by governments. Since then Dragon has delivered cargo to and from the space station multiple times, providing regular cargo resupply missions for NASA.
In June of 2013, SpaceX test fired the first stage of F9-R–advanced prototype for the world’sfirst reusable rocket. The test took place at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, TX, lasting 112 seconds. Unlike airplanes, a rocket’s thrust increases with altitude; F9-R generates just over a million pounds of thrust at sea level but gets up to 1.5 million pounds of thrust in the vacuum of space.