Elon Musk is an innovator and entrepreneur who, at the young age of just 40, has enjoyed an impressive career. In fact, today (June 28) is Musk’s birthday, and perhaps the opportune time to look back at his innovations and illustrious career.
What has Musk done to date? Oh, he has founded a few ventures—including a couple mild successes, such as PayPal and Tesla Motors. (Color this geek impressed!) Perhaps most importantly to the mil/aero community, Musk serves as chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technical officer (CTO) of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), a company based in Hawthorne, Calif., that is working on reusable launch vehicles.
So, to recap: Musk created the world’s largest Internet payment system, with PayPal; invented the first viable production electric car, the Tesla Roadster; and designed the first private successor to the Space Shuttle, the F9/Dragon.
SpaceX is winning contracts, such as a recent award from Thaicom to launch its Thaicom 6 telecommunications satellite into orbit aboard the Falcon 9. “The Falcon 9 will serve our unique needs at Thaicom,” observes Arak Chonlatanon, CEO of Thaicom Plc. “This dedicated launch vehicle is both cost-effective and best-matched to our requirements.”
The Thaicom 6 satellite is designed to serve the growing satellite television market in South and South-East Asia, as well as Southern Africa. Built by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., and expected to weigh roughly 3,200 kilograms at launch, the satellite will operate from 78.5 degrees east and carry 18 C-band and eight Ku-band transponders.
“Asia is a critical market,” reveals Musk, “and SpaceX is honored to support its growing launch needs with a reliable U.S.-based solution.”
This geek is proud that companies, such as SpaceX, are bringing business to the U.S. from Asia, especially considering it is not the “norm.” The U.S. needs this kind of innovation to keep the economy running like a colossus, breaking down barriers in the privatization of the worldwide space travel industry.