Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Elon Musk—and a Little More

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Falcon 9 lauch. Photo: SpaceX

Yesterday, the same man that sent a rocket into space also had his company announce the release date for one of the most efficient electric cars on the market. Elon Musk, the 224th richest man in the United States and the father of five children, watched as his SpaceX team successfully launched what could be the first commercially-produced rocket and spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station.

On the same day, the South African billionaire’s other company, Tesla, announced the first deliveries on June 22 of a mass-produced electric car that can get more than 300 miles per charge and is priced under $50,000. It's probably not a coincidence that both items were released on the same day. Still, how was Musk able to accomplishment such huge technological feats in different industries?

Model S. Photo: Tesla Motors

We’ll offer some definitive stories on the 40-year-old technology titan, but first, here’s a quick summary of what he accomplished yesterday.

At 3:44 A.M. Eastern on May 22, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft. The Dragon is orbiting earth today and will fly by the station at 12:47 A.M. Eastern. Tomorrow, it will undergo a series of tests to see whether it is able to berth with the station. If it passes those tests, a robotic arm will bring the spaceship to dock, where it will unload roughly 1,000 pounds of cargo. Then it will receive cargo to bring back to earth and leave the station on May 31. 

“This mission heralds the dawn of a new era of space exploration, one in which there is a significant commercial space element. It is like the advent of the Internet in the mid-1990s when commercial companies entered what was originally a government endeavor,” Musk said in a press release. “That move dramatically accelerated the pace of advancement and made the Internet accessible to the mass market. I think we’re at a similar inflection point for space. I hope and I believe that this mission will be historic in marking that turning point toward a rapid advancement in space transportation technology.”

Meanwhile, over on the Tesla blog, company vice president George Blankenship revealed that the new Model S shipments would arrive to customers on June 22. Just a couple of weeks earlier on the blog, Musk announced the car would get 250 to 350 miles per charge when driven on the highway between speeds of 50 and 70 miles per hour.  

Though both announcements made big news, if the car receives rave reviews and the spaceship successfully docks, Musk will almost certainly move further up Forbes list of the richest men in the world. If every box is checked on the SpaceX mission, Musk will enter a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to fly 12 cargo missions to the space station.

Yesterday’s feats are the just the latest accomplishments by the co-founder of PayPal and chairman of solar power company, Solar City. To read more about him, check out the following stories and videos.

Secrets of a Highly Effective Entrepreneur, Mashable (In short, he reveals he has mad email skills and he doesn't waste time reading time management books.)

How Elon Musk Turned Tesla Into the Car Company of the Future, Wired

A Collection of Articles on Elon Musk, Forbes

SpaceX, a profile of Elon Musk on 60 Minutes

A Collection of Articles on Elon Musk, The New York Times

Elon Musk on Twitter

—Joe Spring

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