5 Fun Facts About Private Rocket Company SpaceX

October 22, 2013 – 04:13 pm
2) Say cheese!

On the Dragon capsule's first test flight in December 2010, it carried a wheel of cheese into orbit. Prior to the successful liftoff, SpaceX officials hinted that Dragon was carrying special cargo into space, but the company did not reveal the secret payload until after the spacecraft had returned from orbit and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.

The wheel of cheese was launched in honor of a classic skit from actor John Cleese in the British comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus.

"It's kind of funny, " Musk told reporters after the successful launch in 2010. "If you like Monty Python, you'll love the secret."

The cheese rode inside the Dragon capsule for the entire flight, from the launch in Florida to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, 500 miles (804 kilometers) west of Mexico.

After the mission, SpaceX released photos of the cheese wheel, showing it inside a metal cylinder with a cover secured by bolts.

SpaceX's Dragon will lift off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Here, the capsule launches atop a Falcon 9 rocket on its first ever flight test in December 2010.
Credit: SpaceX

3) Rise of the Falcon

SpaceX's fleet of Falcon rockets — the Falcon 9 boosters and smaller Falcon 1 rockets — are named after the fictional Millenium Falcon spaceship from creator George Lucas' "Star Wars" movies. In the sci-fi classics, the iconic Millenium Falcon spacecraft is commanded by the character Han Solo.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stands next to the company's Falcon 9 rocket, which blasted SpaceX's Dragon capsule into orbit in December 2010.
Credit: SpaceX

4) The Real Iron Man in Charge

Part of the live-action superhero movie "Iron Man 2" was shot in SpaceX's factory in Hawthorne, Calif., and CEO Elon Musk even graced the silver screen with a cameo as himself. In a profile of the commercial spaceflight pioneer written for TIME magazine, "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau said Musk inspired actor Robert Downey, Jr.'s portrayal of the character Tony Stark, the genius billionaire behind the famed Marvel Comics...

December 2010 Falcon 9 Test Flight spacex debut flight 2010 elon musk

Source: www.space.com

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  • avatar What is the most awesome thing about the SpaceX Falcon Heavy?
    • Among the many cool things about this rocket, the coolest is that it is 6x cheaper in $/lb to low earth orbit than the Delta IV Heavy.
      The figures on