Between scoring a contract to shuttle astronauts to the ISS, unveiling the latest model of the groundbreaking Tesla, and making ownership of solar power systems more affordable than ever before, to say that Elon Musk is having a good year would be a serious understatement.
But just 6 years ago, things looked very different.
Ross Anderson from Aeon writes:
It was 2008, a year Musk describes as the worst of his life. Tesla was on the verge of bankruptcy. Lehman had just imploded, making capital hard to come by. Musk was freshly divorced and borrowing cash from friends to pay living expenses. And SpaceX was a flameout, in the most literal sense. Musk had spent $US100 million on the company and its new rocket, the Falcon 1. But its first three launches had all detonated before reaching orbit. The fourth was due to lift off in early Fall of that year, and if it too blew apart in the atmosphere, SpaceX would likely have numbered among the casualties. Aerospace journalists were drafting its obituary already.
Confirming the old adage that it’s always darkest before the dawn, Musk’s lowest point led to his greatest triumph yet:
Musk needed a break, badly. And he got it, in the form of a fully intact Falcon 1, riding a clean column of flame out of the atmosphere and into the history books, as the first privately funded, liquid-fuelled rocket to reach orbit.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Musk is now worth 11.7 billion, according to Bloomberg. Both SpaceX and Tesla (and even SolarCity) are succesful, and he’s remarried. What a difference a few years can make.
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