Genius, billionaire, philanthropist, engineer, inventor and investor, a man whose name has been very popular in recent years. The man drove by a dream, a dreamer who wants to conquer the space and bring technology to an absolutely new unprecedented level. As you may have guessed, this is Elon Reeve Musk. In this article, we will talk about how the man who was born in the poor city of Pretoria which is in the Republic of South Africa, has risen on the top of technological progress.
1. Early years
As we said above, everything began in South Africa, in the city of Pretoria. The father of the future genius was a successful businessman and was able to give his 10-year-old son a computer Commodore VIC-20, on which little Elon learned to program. The first deal in Musk`s life happened when he was 12 years old: he sold his first video game “Blast star” for 500 dollars. This game was a rethinking of the well-known game “Space in Waders”. The teenager invested the raised money in shares of a pharmaceutical company, the development of which was closely followed by his father. When he was 17 years old, Musk sold these shares to leave his hometown for studying in Canada. It should be noted that Elon’s parents were against such a decision, but the young Musk insisted on his own and left his homeland and flew to North America.
2. The first companies and PayPal
In Canada, Musk settled at relatives, soon he applied to Stanford, but never finished it. In 1996, Elon together with his brother created his own company Zip2, which developed software for news companies. After just three years, in 1999, Compaq bought Zip2 for $308 million. Musk’s share of this deal was $22 million. A few months later, Elon became one of the founders of the company X.com, which after the merger with the company Confinity became the world-famous payment system PayPal. It should be noted that Elon himself was against the name of PayPal. This service began to actively develop, mainly it was used to buy various goods at auctions, including the most famous Ebay.com. In October 2002, the company PayPal was bought by eBay, the amount of the deal amounted to $1.5 billion, a record for those times. At the time of the sale, Elon Musk owned 11.7% of the company’s shares, which allowed him to receive $165 million.
3. Road to the stars “SpaceX”
In 2002, Musk founded the company SpaceX, which is a private developer of a series of launch vehicles and a commercial operator of space systems. It should be noted that Musk personally invested in SpaceX $100 million, which he had earned from the sale of his previous companies. Elon Musk set the goal: “to reduce the cost of space flight by 10 times.” It seemed unreal, but it took 6 years for Musk and his engineering team to realize it. In 2008, Nasa signed a contract with SpaceX for $1.6 billion. It is very important to note that Elon Musk not only managed this company, he also dealt with engineering and visual activities. As his partners say, Musk independently studied rocket science and continues his own self-study to this day. Almost all the brilliant ideas implemented in SpaceX came to Elona Musk’s mind.
SpaceX is the only company in the world that uses the first stages of launch vehicles on a reusable basis. The ultimate Musk`s goal is the conquest of the space: a colony on Mars and other space bodies of the Solar System. The first flight to the Red Planet is scheduled for 2024. A huge BFR (big falcon rocket) spacecraft is currently in a process of development.
4. Electrification of the automotive industry “Tesla”
At the same time that SpaceX was developing, Musk started the not less ambitious project – in 2003 Musk founded Tesla Motors, the company that specializes in the production of electric cars. This was a very difficult project since Musk and his team were pioneers in this market. In 2006, the brainchild of Elon launched his first car Tesla Roadster, which is a two-seater supercar. The production of this model was very limited since all the cars were assembled by hand.
Now Tesla company is one of the largest car manufacturers in the United States. The company’s lineup now includes Model S (business class sedan), Model X (roomy crossover), Model 3 (budget sedan), Tesla Semi (truck, mass production will begin at the end of 2019), Tesla Roadster 2 (supercar, mass production will begin in 2020). Also in the project are the Model Y (budget crossover) and Tesla pickup.
In 2018, the company had problems that were related to the scaling of production capacity of Model 3, but 3 and 4 quarters of 2018 were profitable for the company and Musk promised investors that the worst was over and that in the future the company would only expect growth and prosperity.
5. Transition to the energy of the sun “Solar City”
In July 2006, Elon Musk`s cousins (with his participation) founded the company Solar City, which specializes in installing solar panels on the roofs of both private houses and public premises. Just a year after the founding of this company, it became the leader in its field of activity in California. Subsequently, Solar City was acquired by Tesla.
6. Underground tunnels “Boring company”
Another problem that Elon Musk decided to fight with was traffic jams. To solve this problem, Elon proposed to build a network of underground tunnels in which cars would move on special platforms, at a speed of 200 km/h. Musk with the company’s engineers are working to improve the drilling rigs in order to cut down the cost of building tunnels by ten times. The most advanced modern boring machines move with a speed that is 7 times less than the speed of movement of an ordinary snail. As Musk joked, the main goal of the company is to outrun the snail. In December 2018, the Boring Company held a presentation of its first test tunnel, which cost the company $10 million, which is several times less than the average market price for a contractor.
Elon Musk is very versatile, he has a number of innovative, but less well-known projects:
- StarLink is a satellite Internet project with coverage of 100% of the globe. The idea is to launch about 12,000 satellites into low-Earth orbit, which will have to give the Internet anywhere in the world. This is a project of SpaceX, which is now actively preparing for its implementation.
- Hyperloop – a project of a supersonic train. For the first time, this idea was voiced by Elon Musk in 2012, but he said that he would not personally deal with its implementation. Already after a short period of time, there were created two companies which actively began to implement the project.
- Neuralink is a neurocomputer interface project. To fully describe this idea of Elon Musk, it is needed to write a separate rather long article. But in short words, Neuralink will help connect the human brain directly to the Internet and to the gadgets that surround us. Today it sounds like a fantastic movie script, but some 10 years ago, self-driving electric cars or manned first stages of launch vehicles that land and can fly again, were also unreal. But as we see, all the goals that Elon Musk sets for himself, sooner or later become a reality.
So we can only wish him good luck and watch him changing our world beyond recognition.
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