Musk Mondays: The Real-Life “Rocket Man”

By: Dowdy White, Fall 2018 IAC Student Intern

If you have never jammed out to Elton John’s classic hit “Rocket Man,” have you ever truly lived? The song that has inspired generations of music lovers paints a picture of a fictional astronaut who makes his way out into the great unknown of outer space to pursue the awe-inspiring final frontier. For two decades, we were left to only imagine what this “rocket man” looked like. However, what if I told you that he’s real? And that he walks among us?

If you pay attention to the news and keep up with current events, you’ve probably heard about a company called SpaceX. If you don’t recall this company’s name, maybe you heard about the company that sent a massive rocket into space carrying a Tesla Roadster sports car. If you didn’t hear about that either, are you sure you’re not living on the moon?

SpaceX and Tesla are companies associated with (in)famous businessman, entrepreneur, inventor, and engineer, Elon Musk. Musk, a South African native, is currently an American citizen with many business holdings and company ownerships all across the world. Musk gained worldwide fame from bringing companies like PayPal, Compaq Computers, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors to the forefront of American markets in the early 2000s. In his most recent net worth assessment, Musk has been valued around $20 billion. With that kind of money comes power and with that power comes great authority. That authority then attracts the attention of people from all over the world who crawl over themselves to hear Musk’s opinions and follow his guidance on a variety of matters ranging from politics to business investments. Simply put, Musk is a very influential man.

SpaceX and Tesla are large companies that are always on the forefront of technological innovation. People pay attention to every move that these companies make. Do you know who the largest shareholder was in these companies until 2018? You guessed it—Elon Musk. SpaceX, the company whose mission is to “reduce the costs of space transportation and enable the colonization of Mars,” has partnered with NASA over the past decade to fly fourteen resupply missions to the International Space Station. Further, in 2017, under Musk’s leadership, the company became the first to successfully re-launch and land the first stage of an orbital rocket. And in 2018, as previously mentioned, the company successfully launched a rocket into space carrying Musk’s Tesla Roadster sports car. With his obsession with outer space and his continuing drive to make space travel a reality, Musk has truly become a modern-day “rocket man.”

This post is the first in a five-part series about Musk and his appearances in recent news and current events. Musk is an insanely popular man whose words and opinions carry a lot of weight. However, in terms of financial regulations, his words and opinions can also get him into trouble.