Elon Musk’s SpaceX: How the world’s richest person leads the space rocket pioneer

Elon Musk’s SpaceX: How the world’s richest person leads the space rocket pioneer
Pls share this post


Listen to this article
Elon Musk in a leather jacket poses on the red carpet of the Axel Springer Awards
Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002.

  • Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, investing $100 million he made from the sale of PayPal.
  • The company nearly failed before receiving a $1.5 billion NASA contract in 2008.
  • Musk wants to colonize Mars and put a million people on the red planet by 2050.

Elon Musk is the CEO of several companies, but SpaceX might just be the most exciting given its ambition of colonizing Mars with reusable rockets. 

While Twitter, Tesla, and PayPal were all founded before he got involved, SpaceX was Musk’s baby.

After receiving $175 million when eBay bought PayPal in 2002, he put $100 million into his new space exploration company.

By 2006, SpaceX had 160 employees and $278 million in funding from NASA as it worked to launch the Falcon 1 rocket. However, the fledgling company looked set to collapse after its first three SpaceX launches failed. 

Then in late 2008, NASA effectively saved SpaceX by awarding it a $1.6 billion contract.

Fast forward 15 years, and the company has about 12,000 staff and has launched 240 Falcon rockets. That success has only come under Musk’s highly demanding and intense leadership.

READ ALSO  San Diego police tell Vision Pro users to 'cross streets the old-fashioned way' — without a headset on
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches against a dusk sky, with a SpaceX branded factory visible in the foreground.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in May 2020.

Good and bad Elon 

Walter Isaacson, whose biography about Musk was published in September 2023, said he witnessed the billionaire go into “demon mode” with “brutal” moments of rage that could promote productivity but lacked empathy.

And Jim Cantrell, who helped set up SpaceX, told Business Insider how Musk would call him at 3 a.m. and demand he come into the office. 

“Working with Elon was like working with two different people: the good Elon and the bad Elon, and you never knew which you were going to get,” he added.

One former SpaceX staffer said he frequently worked 12-hour days and often pulled all-nighters: “A phrase we threw around a lot was ‘you are your own slave driver.'”

In summer of 2022, nine employees were fired after they called on the company to denounce Musk’s tweeting, calling it “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us.”

READ ALSO  I love Facebook Marketplace. But can Mark Zuckerberg please fix this one thing?

And then SpaceX was fined $18,475 for workplace safety violations after an engineer suffered a skull fracture and was left comatose for months.

Musk is also building his own town for SpaceX and Boring Company workers in Texas, called Snailbrook. He bought up at least 3,500 acres of land in recent years, and some homes have already been built. 

An aerial view of Elon Musk's Snailbrook community under construction
Snailbrook, Texas.

Mars in a decade? 

Since becoming the world’s richest person, Musk has sold property worth more than $100 million to help fund his dream of colonizing Mars.

Yet the date for that keeps getting further away. In 2017, Musk said SpaceX would send humans to Mars by 2024. Four years later, it was 2026, then 2029, before settling on an “optimistic” prediction of 2033. 

His loftiest ambition — a million people on the red planet by 2050 — would involve launching three Starship rockets every day.

Starship is the world’s tallest and most powerful rocket. While its maiden launch in April 2023 did get off the launchpad, it ended up exploding three minutes into the flight. 

READ ALSO  8 federal government jobs that can pay over $200K

SpaceX’s recent Starship launch in March didn’t only look cool. It may have marked a major turning point for the space industry.

Elon Musk’s enormous mega-rocket, which didn’t carry a payload or people, did not survive the landing. But it did cruise through space and plummet back through Earth’s atmosphere before exploding, a watershed moment for SpaceX, 22 years to the day after it was founded.

The rapid progress of the Starship-Super Heavy launch system’s development offers high hopes the 400-foot-tall behemoth will be fully functional — and fully reusable — very soon.

The mega-rocket is key to Elon Musk’s ambition to bring costs down to about $10 million per launch, a crucial move for those vying to set up their futuristic industries in space like asteroid mining, or space factories.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Source



Pls share this post
Previous articleCanonical announces Snap Store crackdown after crypto scam apps overload
Next articleHow Taiwan could depend on one of the cheapest naval tactics to stop a Chinese invasion