Founded by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, has been making headlines ever since it became the first privately funded group to put a payload in orbit, in 2008. The company’s primary goal is creating commercially viable and reusable spacecraft that can be sent on multiple space runs much like commercial airliners. And although there have been a few stumbles along the way (most notably a cargo rocket that exploded on route to the International Space Station), on December 21, 2015, SpaceX hit another major milestone by launching a payload of satellites to orbit and then recovering the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which made an upright landing under the power of its own engines.
In the past, space travel has always been the sole domain of governments, but now SpaceX is opening the door to the future of commercial space exploration. Here are six reasons why that future looks to be in good hands.
6. Elon Musk Was the Inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark
In addition to being the head of SpaceX, Elon Musk musk also founded a number of other huge tech companies including PayPal (the world’s leading online payment system), Tesla Motors (the luxury electric vehicle manufacturer) and Solar City (the largest provider of solar energy in the United States). With so many entrepreneurial achievements in the tech sector, it’s no wonder that Robert Downey Jr. sought out Musk to help him prepare for the role of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark.
RDJ claims that a lot of his character in Iron Man is based on Musk, but that he added a dash of bombastic Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to help spice things up a bit.