If you’ve never heard of Elon Musk then you you’re also unfamiliar with the man who became the inspiration for the character of Tony Stark in the Iron Man Series. Elan Musk is a South African born American entrepreneur who was best known for having founded PayPal, the world’s largest internet payment system. PayPal as it is known today was the result of a March 2000 merger between Confinity and X.com. In October of 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock. Musk at the time of the acquisition was the Company’s largest shareholder owning 11.7% of PayPal’s shares.
A serial entrepreneur, Musk bought his first computer at age 10 and taught himself how to program. By the age of 12, he sold a space game called Blastar for approximately $500. He received an undergraduate degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and stayed for an additional year to complete a second bachelor’s degree in Physics.
Musk went on to a graduate program in applied physics and materials science at Stamford in 1995 but stayed only two days before dropping out to found a start-up company called Zip2 with his brother Kimbal Musk. The Company provided online content publishing software for news organizations. In 1999, Compaq’s AltaVista division acquired Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options.
In March of 1999, Musk co-founded an online financial services and email payment company called X.com. One year later, the Company acquired Confinity which operated an auction payment system. In February of 2001, the Company changed its legal name to PayPal and was acquired 1.5 years later by eBay.
Musk founded his third company called Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, in June of 2002 and currently serves as both the CEO and CTO. SpaceX focuses on the development and manufacturing of space launch vehicles. The Company’s mission is to advance the state of rocket technology and to dramatically lower the cost of space travel.
On December 23, 2008, SpaceX was awarded a $1.6 billion contract by Nasa for 12 flights of their Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. These craft were designed to replace the Space Shuttle when it was retired in 2011.
As you will see in the YouTube video below, Musk would like to see space travel to Mars become possible for an American consumer by 2025. SpaceX has made some very impressive breakthroughs in developing reusable rocket technology. After watching the video, it’s not hard to see why many people consider Elon Musk to be the real life inspiration for Toy Stark in Iron Man. We applaud the efforts of Mr. Musk and look forward to the 2023 goal of space travel to Mars being realized.