It’s officially a stellar week for Elon Musk, the billionaire engineer behind SpaceX, the company that made history Tuesday launching the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.
The rocket, originally set to hit the stratosphere Saturday, might have taken to the sky a few days late, but the excitement Musk expressed on Twitter about the launch extends a victory streak that also includes more earthly passions.
On Monday, Musk tweeted that Tesla – the luxury electric car company he co-founded in Silicon Valley – had reached a “major milestone” by completing crash testing and gaining approval for sale to the public.
That is exactly the kind of advancement Musk seems to be all about – disrupting an existing sector of the economy, whether it's banking or cars or spaceflight. His ventures have been striking a chord with the public for years. As this 2007 article notes, Musk, a native of South Africa, was 28 when he sold his first company for $300 million.
Musk and the other entrepreneurs behind PayPal reshaped the landscape of online consumerism. The launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 promises to similarly change the economics of space travel for a post-space shuttle world.
“It’s just very exciting, I think. It’s almost like being at the dawn of the Apollo era, but I think we’ll go much farther than Apollo and really driving the technology to the point where almost anyone can go to space if they want to” Musk said in aYouTube interview with The Daily.
Musk said in a CNN.com article on private companies and space travel that competition with other entrepreneurs, including Richard Branson, is part of his motivation.