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falcon9-renderLearn how the founder of PayPal is building and launching rockets into space — for NASA! Learn the story of SpaceX.

What would you do if you were a billionaire? Most people would probably buy some real estate, invest in a diverse stock portfolio, and save the rest.

Luckily for us, Elon Musk isn’t that boring. After selling his company PayPal to eBay, Musk did anything but play it safe.

In addition to founding and running electric luxury car company Tesla Motors, Musk wanted to boldly go where few entrepreneurs had gone before.

In 2002 he founded Space Explorations Technologies Corporation — SpaceX for short. The company builds and launches rockets into space.

Think of it as a really, really expensive passion project.

“I want a society where people are out exploring the stars,” Musk says. His goal with SpaceX is to incrementally improve rocket technology to that end.

Pretty lofty goals. But he puts his money where his mouth is. Musk invested $100 million of his own money into SpaceX.

For now they make most of their money launching satellites into space.

To control quality and cost, SpaceX designs and fabricates nearly all of the components for its rockets in-house.

Within about eight years, the company turned profitable.

Their biggest customer? NASA!

In 2012, SpaceX made history by becoming the first privately held company to send a cargo payload to the International Space Station with their Falcon 9 rocket, pictured to the right.

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Click the image to enlarge

What’s in the stars for SpaceX? Among other things, it’s working on designing and developing the next generation of manned spacecraft for NASA.

As for Elon Musk? The entrepreneur and father of five hopes to visit Mars in his lifetime. He considers colonizing the red planet a crucial step to ensuring the survival of our species.

Heady stuff!

Oh, and he’d like to get from LA to San Francisco in about thirty minutes.

Elon Musk exemplifies one of our Business Axioms for Entrepreneurs: Pursue Your Passion.

Taking space exploration to the private sector. Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?

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