In 2002, Paypal co-founder Elon Musk founded SpaceX and the space transport services company has since then grown by leaps and bounds. From only 160 employees in 2005, the company employs 3,800 employees as of October 2013.
The success of the company could be attributed to the ingenious services provided by SpaceX that significantly reduced costs. Prior to Musk's company, NASA would pay contractors such as Lockheed Martin or Boeing to build equipment that the U.S space agency would own and operate.
With SpaceX, NASA started to pay for services and not equipment which resulted in the government saving money and risks albeit NASA had to shell out some big amount upfront that SpaceX would use to fund its buildout.
Musk wanted to send things to low Earth orbit at a much cheaper cost aiming cheap rockets to go to space and return to be used again. Musk explained that his business strategy helps save time and money. In 2006, the costs of commercial launchings were between $5,000 and $10,000 for each pound of payload but Musk offered this for a mere $1,000 per pound.
In 2012, SpaceX made history when the company's Falcon 9 delivered the space capsule Dragon to rendezvous and deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) making SpaceX the first commercial company to accomplish the feat. The company has since then made several flights to the space station in low-Earth orbit to deliver and return cargo for NASA.
The company has also set its eyes on reusable rockets. Rockets are only good for use in one flight and they fall as trash into the sea once their fuel has been used, which explains the high cost of spaceflight. Musk's company wants to change this with the addition of landing legs to rockets so they can be reused.
Although the company has had three failed attempts to land a reusable Falcon 9 rocket on an ocean platform, the endeavor, once successful, could be a game changer as it can significantly lower the cost of space flight. When this happens, Musk's company may also again become a trailblazer as this could revolutionize space travel.
"We have to do something dramatic to reduce the cost of getting to space," Musk has said. "If we can get the cost low, we can extend life to another planet. I want to help make humanity a space-faring civilization."