Commercial Mission Patches 2019-Present
With the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, a new initiative was started to entice private companies to invest in space travel. Several companies accepted the challenge and began to develop vehicles to ferry supplies and experiments to the International Space Station. SpaceX was the first to successfully launch a spacecraft into orbit. Founded by famed billioniare businnessman Elon Musk, SpaceX developed the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon capsule for ISS resupply missions. Orbital Sciences Corporation, now known as Orbital ATK, was next to send a mission to the ISS. Commercial spaceflight is poised to soon overtake NASA in the race for space. Several companies are competing to develop spacecraft for Earth orbit and beyond. Billionaire RIchard Branson of Virgin Galactic hopes to soon make space tourism a reality and is currently developing spacecraft to take paying passengers into low Earth orbit. SpaceX is developing a giant rocket ship that will rival the Apollo Staurn V and has announced their plans to establish a human colony on the planet Mars.