Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) designs, manufactures and launches the world's most advanced rockets and spacecraft. Based in California, it was founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk with the aim of revolutionising space transportation. Its prototype rocket, Falcon 1, and the more powerful Falcon 9, were designed to be reusable, eventually taking humans into space and back again. SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners.

How Kuang-Chi Science’s Traveller II Beta might look. File illustration

The Chinese company sending a turtle to space

While Jeff Bezos’ space travel company Blue Origin – with two turtles on its coat of arms – unveiled new rockets last week, a Chinese company in Shenzhen is preparing to launch an actual turtle into near-space possibly as early as this month.