Elon Musk was born in South Africa on 18th June 1971. He developed a great interest in computers since he was 10 years old. At the age of 12, he created a game known as “blaster” and later, he sold it to a magazine for $500. Musk went to the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 to study physics and business. He and his brother Kimbal started zip2 with $28, 000 of their father’s money, zip2 was a web startup which provided city travel guides to newspapers. Later, they sold zip2 to Compaq computers in 1999 and Elon Musk earned $22 million. He co-founded an online banking service “x.com”, investing half of his money. The company quickly integrated with its competitor company and became PayPal leaving Elon Musk as the major shareholder.
He conceptualized a project in 2001, which was the idea to land a miniature experimental greenhouse on Mars. eBay brought PayPal in 2002 profiting musk $180 million. He traveled to Russia to buy ICBM (refurbished intercontinental ballistic missiles). He planned to send a colony of mice to mars but Russians offered $8 million USD for each rocket. Musk felt that it was artificially overpriced so he refused. They taunted musk saying, “oh, little boy, you don’t have the money?” “I think we can build a rocket ourselves”, Musk replied. While the flight back from Moscow, he thought to start his own company, a company that can build the inexpensive rockets he needed.
When he calculated the expenses, he found out that the raw materials for building a rocket surprisingly were 3% of the sales prizes at that time! In May 2002, Musk started SpaceX with $100 million USD to build rockets for commercial space travels and just after a year, he founded Tesla, which is an American company that specializes in electric automotive, energy storage and solar panel manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California. SpaceX launched its first rocket in 2006. But it failed after just 33 seconds of the launch. His chances to establish the credibility of the company also ended with failure with the crash of the 2nd and the 3rd rockets in 2007 and 2008.
Both the company was almost shut down after the 3rd failure. Elon Musk had money to launch the 4th rocket but launching the 4th one was a huge risk. E took the risk and launched the 4th one (Falcon 1) on 18th September 2008. Falcon 1 successfully launched and reached the orbit of the earth. The Falcon 1 made history by becoming the world’s first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to orbit the earth. NASA awarded SpaceX $1.6 billion dollars contract on 23rd December 2008 to handle cargo transfer for the international space station. In a move to replace the space shuttle missions of NASA with plans for astronaut transport in the future. SpaceX publicly announced a reusable launch system development program in 2011.
And after some failures… a successful landing was achieved and recovery of the first stage in December 2015. SpaceX relaunched the used rocket in March 2015 and brought it back landing it in the oceans, which was a perfect landing. All rockets burn up on re-entry because of their design. But SpaceX rockets cannot only withstand reentry but also it can successfully land on earth and fly again. Elon Musk believes that a completely and rapidly reusable rocket can only reduce the cost of space travel.