After selling PayPal for $1.5 billion dollars to Ebay in 2002 visionary Elon Musk could not just sit back and enjoy his multimillion achievement. He had greater things in mind, Space X. In 2002, Elon Musk invested his own money and founded the first private space company, which today opens the doors to space exploration again. After Nasa retired their 30 year program in 2011, many people thought that space exploration would come to an end. Elon’s goal was to make people believe in space again, and so he did. The idea of building shuttles and sending them to space seemed oddly expensive. One of the reasons why NASA retired after 30 years was the extremely high expense of building, fueling, manning, and sending just a single shuttle into space. Elon knew how expensive it was to maintain a space program like NASA so he started SpaceX with a particular goal in mind. What was this goal? To make spaceflight routine and affordable. In addition, to make humans a multi-planetary species. So how did he do it and how does he continue to strive to reach these goals?
Understand why building rockets was so expensive
Figure out how to go to orbit cheaper by lowering the cost by a third
Hire NASA’s veteran engineers as well as passionate young engineers
Break through barriers (literally and figuratively) even though the odds were astronomical (pun intended)
Create a sustainable and reusable system to maintain lower costs
Make more than 70% of each launch vehicle manufactured and assembled at the SpaceX Hawthorne production facility in order to avoid pitfalls associated with single source parts dependency
Name his first two shuttle Falcon and Dragon (just because he can)
8. Establish a viable business plan by charging other countries to send cargo to the ISS
9. Secure a 6.8 billion dollar contract from NASA along with Boeing to finish designs, build, test and ultimately fly crews to the ISS
10. Become the real life Iron Man
It took more than a decade to accomplish what people never thought would be possible. Only world superpowers had been able to accomplish the same feats Elon did before he accepted the challenge. Even though the odds were not always in his favor, his operation management and business skills were what lead SpaceX to be the first private company to ever launch a rocket out of Space. What is something else no one thought would be possible that was accomplished by a single man and his vision? Would you change anything about how Elon runs SpaceX or the process taken to accomplish his goals? Why were his operations management skills so essential to achieve his goal?