Whether you find him admirable or unpleasant, Elon Musk is having a fantastic year.
SpaceX, the company he founded in 2002, sent two American astronauts to the International Space Station at the end of May and brought them home safely in a historic splashdown on Sunday, heralding a new era. of private space travel. Tesla Inc., its electric car maker, recently celebrated its fourth straight quarter of profit and may soon join the S&P 500 Index. This year’s rally in stocks made the California-based company the world‘s most valuable automaker , with a market value of around $ 267 billion at Friday’s close.
And then there’s Musk himself. The 49-year-old South African immigrant, who is a Los Angeles-based celebrity as much as a Silicon Valley CEO, is now the 10th richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
While the CEOs of the Big Four tech companies – Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. – were ridiculed as “cyber barons” at a congressional grill last week on antitrust issues, Musk took advantage of a treatment from the Style section in the Sunday New York Times.
It’s a remarkable turnaround from the dark days of 2018 when Tesla struggled to ramp up production of the Model 3 sedan, many executives resigned and Musk was sued by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. for his infamous ‘privatization’ tweet.
Controversy over the coronavirus
Since then, he has not liked himself by everyone. Musk has been criticized for downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, tweeting in early March that “the coronavirus panic is stupid” and then predicting that the United States would likely have “close to zero new cases” by the end of April. In California, where Tesla’s massive auto plant employs around 10,000 workers, Musk defied Alameda County public health officials by shutting the plant late and reopening it early, daring anyone to shut it down.
Yet in a year when much of the nation is curled up or folded in the face of soaring viral infections and widespread economic anxiety, Musk is seething and expanding. Tesla, which has 55,000 employees worldwide, is hiring and building a new auto plant in Austin, Texas for its next electric pickup truck. Musk suggested on Friday that Tesla’s workforce could reach 65,000 by the end of the year.
“We are full of admiration” for the entire Tesla team, said James Anderson of Scottish CFO Baille Gifford, Tesla’s second largest shareholder after Musk himself, in an email. “What they do is a rare but central light in a dark world.”
Baillie Gifford declined to comment on the success of SpaceX, in which he is also an investor. Musk’s tightly-owned firm, which is in the process of raising $ 1 billion in funds, is one of the most valuable venture-backed companies in the United States.
Tesla rose 2.7% to $ 1,469.37 at 10:18 a.m. Monday in New York. The stock had tripled this year through July 31, as the three major US automakers each fell more than 25%.
SpaceX – formerly Space Exploration Technologies Corp. – is best known for launching the reusable Falcon 9 rocket for customers that include commercial satellite operators, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the US military. The successful flight of astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley marks the first time SpaceX has flown humans – huge proof for a company founded with the goal of colonizing Mars.
Happy Dragon splashdown confirmed! Welcome to Earth, @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug! pic.twitter.com/0vAS3CcK9P
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) Aug 2, 2020
“Welcome back to planet Earth and thank you for flying SpaceX,” Mission Control said after the Dragon capsule astronauts crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. Congratulations from President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama, as well as competitors like Blue Origin and Boeing Co., poured in via Twitter.
Now that the “Demo-1” test flight is complete, SpaceX can begin operational trips for NASA. The Crew-1 mission is scheduled for late September.
SpaceX is also testing Starship, the next-generation rocket that will transport humans to the Moon, and then to Mars. It is also preparing to launch its own space internet service called Starlink. And later this month, Musk promises to give a “progress update” on Neuralink, his brain-machine interface startup.
“If you want the person who is going to change the world, you’re going to have a hard time,” Gene Munster, managing partner of Loup Ventures, said of Musk in an interview on Sunday. “Ultimately, his success speaks for itself. And while he feels like it all came together for him this year, he laid the groundwork for the past decade.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)