Stellar week for SpaceX founder Elon Musk
SpaceX founder Elon Musk
May 22nd, 2012
05:46 PM ET

Stellar week for SpaceX founder Elon Musk

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.

"That's what competition does: It brings out the best in people."   More people will have a chance to see exactly what that means when the first Tesla Model S sedans hit the streets next month.

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Filed under: Science • Space • Technology
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    2nd time lucky.

    May 22, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jt_flyer

      Luck had nothing to do with it.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I do not like wearing musk. Is that O.K.?

    May 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Oh yeah Mr. Moser, congrats being first, but that shouldn't be that unusual. You seem to have a lot of time on your hands anyways.

    May 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HIDE BEHIND

    More earth bound: If what all the car mags say is true his Tesla auto is one fine machine, but its price is way up there.
    While some may hype this, space undertaking, as an example of private enterprize versus government unless the telecommunications industry steps up this will remain as only a replacement for low earth orbits vesus the new Fed financed Boeing permanent earth orbit rockets soon to come online.
    Without heavy private useage be hard to fund higher capability

    May 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fernace

    I appreciate his effort, but he's a billionaire "tinkering" w/his hobby, his dream, his concept of what will make a difference to society! If I was a billionaire, my hobby would be humanitarian efforts, focusing on nutrition & education!!

    May 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Think about the people he has put to work with his "hobbies" thus allowing their families to have good nutrition etc...and the folks that sell good nutrition to have a little cash buy a house and then pay taxes to fund the education system.!

      May 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • IdahoTom

      Tell me. What is the point of education when you don't make use of it? I.e. make a difference in the world like what a PHYSICS degree holder Musk has just done. You will never be able to help educate others or help nurish others. You will never be a billionaire because you are just a fantasizer, not a dreamer. You are a follower, not a leader. You a talker, not a doer. Unless you change fundamentally as a human being, you will be no one like who you are currently.

      May 23, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill-ionaires

      Sure Bill gates has set a great example for giving away his fortune, but it is far greater than what this man – Elon Musk – has. He is still relatively young and has had great successes early in his career. Maybe later in his career he will pursue philanthropy; I say give him a chance to do what he does best at his prime, he could benefit society in other ways as well.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Rootieboy

      Hobbies. He wants to make humans into a multi planetary species in case of a Mass Extinction Level Event happens. I'd say he is doing his part in a great humanitarian effort. All it takes is one asteroid to wipe us off the face of the Earth. All it takes is a super virus that we cannot fight. We are not invincible.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Harvey

      I believe Musk is looking for long term solutions towards the human condition. Things like humanitarian efforts are shorter term. If he makes a profit in the process, he has every right to keep and do with the money as he pleases

      May 23, 2012 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
    • NexyB

      A lot of billionaires already focus there efforts on humanitarianism. Whats wrong if one decides to focus his efforts on advancing humanities scientific endeavors. So few do.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jt_flyer

      Well we'll leave you in charge of getting those things done.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • TonyGa

      Billionaires that create value are humanitarian. Also, many of the self made rich are generous in give aways of their wealth to others through endowments including for the education of others.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. sumguy

    Congratulations Mr Musk, well done!

    May 22, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    Did someone just refer to extending human civilization to other planets "tinkering"? The hateration these days is getting unbearable.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rich

    Congrats! You'll remember this day for the rest of your life! When can I get a ride 🙂

    May 23, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Facts

    Um.....Musk is NOT an engineer, for like the eleventy billionth time. Would be great if CNN employed a fact checker. Jeeez.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. FRED - BC CANADA - FANTASTIC!

    WELL DONE!

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ON BOTH FRONTS!

    I WOULD LOVE TO OWN A TESLA – ONE DAY WHEN COSTS COME DOWN!

    May 23, 2012 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Vaporman

      The Model S will cost half of what the original roadster was priced at. Prices are coming down.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ed T Duck

    Tesla have been selling cars for some number of years now. What are you talking about cnn?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed T Duck

      Ah, the model S. They've been selling the Roadster for 4 years now. Perhaps you should clarify that CNN.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tony Stark

    Congrats!!
    We need more techno-billionaires. More productive and most beneficial use of money.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Greek American

    This guy actually was at the point of losing all his money. The Tesla vehicle launch was a disaster and he got to the point where he was spending more than he was making. They basically pieced together the second vehicle (S) and had to go public on the stock market in order to raise money. If the S failed in sales, he would've been bankrupt in that venture.

    May 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dick C

      If frogs had wings they wouldn't land on their butt wihen they hop!

      May 25, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ernie Garee

    I don't feel well about the man.I had a real bad experance with PayPal and I will never use it agin.His car company has not done very well.Now he is spending my money to supply the space station.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dick C

    Why must humanitarian be defined as giving something (wealth) away? Why can't it be more broadly defined as expanding opportunities to each individual and allowing them the the resources to demand better education nutrition and health care through the market systems.

    I dare say that Bill Gates made more of a "humanitarian" impact on more people with his business practices, and products from Microsoft than he ever will "giving" his wealth away. The best welfare system is a job.

    The same applies to Mr. Musk and others like him. Where would we be if not for a market that rewards genius and allows it to prosper?

    May 25, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
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