Elon Musk is the co-founder of e-payment company Paypal and spacecraft maker SpaceX. He was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Musk is also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla and owns the majority of that company.
In addition, he also owns shares in the social network Twitter, which he tried to fully buy this spring.
So who is Elon Musk?
Early life of Elon Musk
Musk was born to a South African father and a Canadian mother. He showed an early talent in the field of computer and entrepreneurship.
At the age of twelve, he created a video game, which he sold to a computer magazine.
In 1988, after obtaining a Canadian passport, Musk left South Africa because he was unwilling to support apartheid through compulsory military service and the pursuit of greater economic opportunities available in the United States, according to Britannica.
Musk attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and in 1992 he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, where he earned a BA in Physics and Economics in 1997.
He entered the Graduate School of Physics at Stanford University in California, but dropped out after only two days because he felt the Internet had more potential to change society than working in physics.
In 1995 he founded Zip2, a company that provides maps and business listings for online newspapers. In 1999, Zip2 was bought by computer maker Compaq for $307 million, then Musk founded an online financial services company, X.com, which later became PayPal, specializing in online money transfers. Online auction house eBay bought PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
Musk has always been convinced that for life to survive, humanity must become a multi-planetary species. However, he is not satisfied with the high cost of rocket launchers.
In 2002 he founded Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to produce affordable rockets. Its first two rockets were the Falcon 1 (launched in 2006) and the larger Falcon 9 (launched in 2010), which were designed to cost significantly less than competing rockets.
A third rocket, the Falcon Heavy (launched in 2018), is designed to carry 53,000 kilograms into orbit, nearly double its largest competitor, Boeing’s Delta IV Heavy, for a third of the cost.
SpaceX has announced the successor to the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets: the Super Heavy-Starship system. The first stage, the Super Heavy, could be able to carry 100,000 kg into low Earth orbit. Its mission will be the Spacecraft, a spacecraft designed to provide rapid transportation between cities on Earth and bases on the Moon and Mars.
SpaceX has also developed the Dragon spacecraft, which carries supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). The first test flights of the Super Heavy-Starship system took place in 2020. In addition to being the CEO of SpaceX, Musk was also the lead designer in building the Falcon, Dragon, and Starship rockets.
Elon Musk and Tesla
Elon Musk has also been interested in electric cars for a long time, and in 2004 he became one of the main financiers of Tesla Motors (later renamed Tesla), a company founded by entrepreneurs Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning.
In 2006, Tesla released its first car, the Roadster, which can travel 394 kilometers on a single charge. Unlike most previous electric cars, which Musk found impractical and uninteresting, the Roadster was a sports car that could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds.
In 2012, Tesla introduced the Model S sedan, which was praised by auto critics for its performance and design. The company garnered more praise for its luxury Model X SUV, which was launched in 2015. The Model 3, a less expensive car, entered production in 2017 and became the best-selling electric vehicle of all time.
Not satisfied with the expected cost ($68 billion) of California’s high-speed rail system, Musk in 2013 proposed a faster alternative system, the Hyperloop, a pneumatic tube in which a capsule carrying 28 passengers could travel the 560 km between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 35 minutes, and a top speed of 1220 km/h, roughly the speed of sound.
Musk claimed that the Hyperloop would only cost $6 billion and that with capsules leaving on average every two minutes, the system could support the six million people who travel this route each year. However, he said that splitting his time between SpaceX and Tesla, he was not able to devote himself to the development of the Hyperloop.
Elon Musk created an account on the social network Twitter in 2009, and it became one of the most popular accounts on the site, having surpassed 85 million followers in 2022.
In early April 2022, it was revealed that Musk had bought more than 9% of the company. Shortly thereafter, Twitter announced that Musk would be joining the company’s board of directors; Instead, Elon decided to make a bid to buy the entire company at $54.20 per share, for a total of $44 billion.
Twitter’s board of directors approved the deal, making him the company’s sole owner. Musk said his plans for the company include “improving the product with new features, open source algorithms to increase trust, defeat spambots, and authenticate everyone.”
In July 2022, Musk announced that he was withdrawing his offer, saying that Twitter had not provided enough information about the spam accounts and claiming that the company had “materially violated several provisions” of the purchase agreement.
Twitter CEO Brett Taylor responded by saying the company was “committed to completing the transaction at the price and terms agreed with Musk.”
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