Full disclosure: after reading this profile (referenced herein) a few years ago, I invested a somewhat significant amount into TSLA (Tesla Motors). Needless to say, I’m glad I did it. I decided to revisit it, and, share the “epiphany” that came about - strangely, it was the SpaceX story that convinced me (years back) that Elon Musk would have the “chops” to build Tesla into such a revolutionary car company.
One of my all-time favorite profiles (ever) of Elon Musk came about when he won the prestigious Smithsonian Award for Ingenuity, they explained* why...
“There are few things more difficult than putting something into orbit. Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, the space shuttle—we think of rockets and we think of the oldest, most staid monoliths: the U.S. government. NASA. Lockheed. Boeing. Space, a frontier so dangerous, so daunting, so complex and impossible, that it belongs not to the realm of lone adventurers and daring entrepreneurs, but to the combined might of the most powerful military industrial complex in the world. Except [SpaceX’s] rocket wasn’t built or launched by the U.S. government, or even Lockheed or Boeing, but by guys in surfer shorts and T-shirts, overseen by an Internet [b]illionaire... 'Our first order of business, ' [said Elon] Musk, sitting in his cubicle in Hawthorne, California, 'is to defeat the incumbent, old school rocket companies. Lockheed. Boeing. Russia. China. If this is a chess game, they don’t have much of a chance.'”
Smithsonian went on to describe how SpaceX can “send a 10, 000-pound payload into geosynchronous orbit for $60 million, compared with a United Launch Alliance Delta flight cost of $300 million (a space shuttle flight cost upward of $1 billion). If he [Musk] can get 'full and rapid reusability'—if he can figure out how to recover not just the second stage Dragon capsule, but the first stage of his Falcon 9—he’ll have done what no one has ever done before: created a fully reusable rocket for which the fuel costs only $200, 000 per flight. 'Humanity will always be confined to Earth unless someone invents a reusable rocket, ' [Musk] says. 'That is the pivotal innovation to make life interplanetary, and I think we’re close…'”
You might also like: