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.
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.
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.
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...
Elon Musk: 46 Fascinating Facts About The Mastermind Real Life 'Iron Man', CEO, Billionaire, Entrepreneur, Visionary & Renaissance Man (Investing, Entrepreneurship, ... Men, Success Principles, Business Advice)
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