SpaceX Program History

The history of SpaceX’s program promises and actual delivery.

Program Expected Completion Actual Completion
Falcon 1 (TacSat–1) 01/2004 09/28/2008[1]
COTS 03/2010 08/23/2012[2]
CRS 12/2016 2017[3][4]
CCiCap 04/2014 03/2015[0][5]
SpaceX CCiCap Milestone Expected Completion Date Actual Completion Date
Milestone 11 Pad Abort Test 12/2013 ~12/2014
Milestone 13 Integrated CDR 03/2014 ~12/2014
Milestone 14 In-Flight Abort Test 04/2014 ?

Specific to CCiCap, NASA accepted SpaceX’s request in April 2014 to devide it’s Milestone 13,

Integrated CDR
SpaceX will hold an Integrated Critical Design Review (CDR) to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test.

into 4 parts. The question of whether there will be an “integrated” critical design review of the crewed Dragon has yet to be answered.

Revised SpaceX CCiCap Milestone Name Milestone Description
Milestone 13A Qualification test for the primary structure of its Dragon spacecraft
Milestone 13B Grounds Systems and Mission Ops CDR
Milestone 13C Crew Vehicle Technical Integration Meetings (Originally part of Milestone 13A)
Milestone 13D Delta Crew Vehicle CDR (Originally part of Milestone 13A)

I could go on about the 2 year gap between SpaceX’s launch promises vs. delivery. Or that the cost of Falcon 9 launches went from $35M to $60M, an increase of just over 71%, before that launcher was retired. Today’s Falcon 9.1 launcher delivers 55% more payload than a Falcon 9 and costs 50% more at $90M.

The Falcon 9 Heavy first flight, promised in 2012, are now scheduled for sometime in 2015.

And then there’s the whole Fragola Affair.

  1. TacSat–1 was mothballed in 2007 after Orbital Sciences launched TacSat–2  ↩
  2. COTS Demo Mission 2 was scheduled for Sept. 2009 and Demo Mission 3 for March 2010. These two missions were combined into COTS Demo Mission C2+.  ↩
  3. NASA Awards Space Station Commercial Resupply Services Contracts, Dec. 23, 2008  ↩
  4. Because CRS launches began 2 years late on October 28, 2012, NASA has extended the date of CRS completion date. To date, SpaceX has completed 4 of the planned 12 flights.  ↩
  5. NASA stated on 06/10/2014 that the pad and in-flight abort tests were delayed because, “[r]ushing these tests would have compromised the results and potentially impacted safety. NASA (and SpaceX) want these tests to be of high quality with the results representative of real abort scenarios, thus NASA granted the SpaceX’s request for the new dates.” No mention was made that the tests had been planned since 2010.  ↩