What inspired Elon Musk to build SpaceX that’s worth over $20 billion today

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New Delhi | Updated: Dec 03, 2018 5:32 PM

SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and transportation company that is now valued at over $20 billion, was founded by Elon Musk in 2002

Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX, a space company worth $20 billion (Source: Reuters)

Elon Musk is perhaps the superhuman of the modern times where he is not only revered for his futuristic vision on how transportation across the world can be reimagined but also for his humorous demeanour, including a recent interview where he outwardly smoked cannabis while talking about his plans. Standing on a net worth of about $22.5 billion worldwide, Musk is an inspiration to many budding entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and even laymen. But, few people are familiar with the inspiration that Musk drew to start out a space tech company that now holds some of the most innovative machinery, SpaceX.

The seeds for SpaceX were sown into Musk’s mind when he picked up a series of books for light reading. However, the book series was so enticing that Musk idolised the instances in the book and turned them into reality. The series in question is Isaac Asimov’s The Foundation that depicts the journey of a math professor who foresees the collapse of a galactic empire and chalks out a strategy to send artificially created colonies to distant planets in order to provide unending assistance to save the civilizations from the impending doom.

The Foundation novel series has seven books – Foundation, released in 2004; Foundation and Empire, released in 2004; Second Foundation, released in 2004; Foundation’s Edge, released in 2012; Foundation and Earth, released in 2012; Prelude to Foundation, released in 2012; and Forward the Foundation, released in the year 2012. All of them belong to Isaac Asimov’s immensely ambitious ideologies of how a man can enter the space and be a saviour.

SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and transportation company that is now valued at over $20 billion, was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Musk is the present CEO of the company and has a major say in nearly all the decisions the company makes. The biggest achievement of SpaceX by far has been the introduction of reusable rockets that was conceptualised to lessen the debris in the space. Previous to this invention, the rockets propelled into space disintegrated into several parts that still keep floating in the outer spheres.

Musk told Rolling Stone in a candid interview that he found an empowering similarity between The Foundation series of books and Edward Gibbon’s famous work from the 18th century, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, except the former has a storyline on a galactic empire. “The lesson I drew from that is you should try to take the set of actions that are likely to prolong civilization, minimize the probability of a dark age and reduce the length of a dark age if there is one,” Musk told Rolling Stone.

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