One of the companies that I have been following is a company called SpaceX (short for Space Exploration Technologies Corporation). Founded in 2002 by South-African born Engineer and industrialist Elon Musk (also founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors), the company designs and manufactures a family of medium and heavy commercial launch vehicles. As NASA winds down the shuttle program and retires the remaining fleet, there will be a need for more simplified and reliable space flights to complete construction of the International Space Station (ISS) and enable future space projects on NASA’s roadmap. NASA’s latest management approach focused on more cost-effective space programs and equipment will also depend more and more on companies like SpaceX for its political survival as well. Quoting from the SpaceX web site: “SpaceX aims to change this paradigm by developing a family of launch vehicles which will ultimately reduce the cost and increase the reliability of space access by a factor of ten”. SpaceX has successfully test launched several of its products. On Friday June 4th 2010, SpaceX successfully test launched its latest Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Florida. Below is a YouTube video of the launch.
More information on SpaceX can be found here.