SpaceX, the current leader in space transport, sits roughly where Jack Northrop started his company back in 1939. Hawthorne has a rich tradition of being the home to several major aerospace corporations over the years.
Over the twentieth century aerospace was the central factor transforming Southern California from sunbelt orange groves to high-tech metropolis. These transformations included the millions of people who flooded the region for aerospace jobs. Southern California aerospace in turn provided the advanced technologies central to national defense, and challenged and transformed the human imagination through the exploration of outer space.
Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002, is also the CEO of Tesla Motors and made his initial fortune by co-founding the online payment system PayPal. This year, the company is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has a $1.6 billion deal with NASA to provide 12 unmanned cargo flights to the International Space Station.
On May 22, 2012 the company launched an unmanned capsule to the International Space Station, on a demonstration flight that could mark a turning point for the commercial spaceflight industry.
The mission is designed to test Dragon's ability to haul cargo to and from the International Space Station. If the flight goes well, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX will make history by becoming the first company to dock a privately built spacecraft to the orbiting outpost. The test flight is part of a NASA program to foster the development of a new fleet of private spaceships to ferry hardware and supplies to the space station.
The flight as part of a contract that could be worth as much as $396 million, according to company spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham. The company has completed 37 of the 40 milestones in the contract and has received $381 million.
To watch the video of the May 22, 2012 liftoff click on the following link: liftoff