Elon Musk (b.June 28, 1971), is a South African scientist and a a computer programer who came to fame and fortune by co-founding the online payment system PayPal. After PayPal was sold to eBay, Elon moved on to start and run several exciting companies. Elon is the CEO & Chief Technology Officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), which is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of access to space ultimately by a factor of ten. SpaceX launched Falcon 1 into orbit on September 28, 2008, which was the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket. They are also the preferred launch provider for the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Elon will offer rides to anyone competing in the prize at cost, which is a great deal. One of my favorite parts of the Board meeting was getting a tour of the SpaceX facitility from Elon himself.
Elon is also the Chairman of Tesla Motors, a builder of electric vehicles and a high luxury electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster.
Elon is also the Chairman of Solar City, solar energy system design, financing, installation and related services.
Before PayPal, Mr. Musk co-founded Zip2 Corporation in 1995, a leading provider of enterprise software and services to the media industry, with investments from The New York Times Company, Knight-Ridder, MDV, Softbank and the Hearst Corporation. He served as Chairman, CEO and Chief Technology Officer and in March 1999 sold Zip2 to Compaq for $307 million in an all cash transaction.
Mr. Musk's early experience extends across a spectrum of advanced technology industries, from high energy density ultra-capacitors at Pinnacle Research to software development at Rocket Science and Microsoft. He has a physics degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a business degree from Wharton and originally came out to California to pursue graduate studies in high energy density capacitor physics & materials science at Stanford.
In February 2011, Forbes listed Musk as one of "America's 20 Most Powerful CEOs 40 And Under
The world governing body for aerospace records, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, presented Musk in 2010 with the highest award in air & space, the FAI Gold Space Medal, for designing the first privately developed rocket to reach orbit. Prior awardees include Neil Armstrong, Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites and John Glenn.[
Listed as one of Time Magazine's 100 people who most affect the world in 2010. Jon Favreau, director of the Iron Man movies, describes in his article how Musk was the inspiration for the genius billionaire Tony Stark.
Named as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire magazine.
Recognized as a Living Legend in Aviation in 2010 by the Kitty Hawk Foundation for creating the successor to the Space Shuttle (Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft). Other awardees include Buzz Aldrin and Richard Branson.
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics George Low award for the most outstanding contribution in the field of space transportation in 2007/2008. Musk was recognized for his design of the Falcon 1, the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit.
National Space Society's Von Braun Trophy in 2008/2009, given for leadership of the most significant achievement in space. Prior recipients include Burt Rutan and Steve Squyres.
National Wildlife Federation 2008 National Conservation Achievement award for Tesla Motors and SolarCity. Other 2008 awardees include journalist Thomas Friedman, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and Florida Governor Charlie Cris
In a 2010 Space Foundation survey, Musk was ranked as the #10 (tied with rocketry pioneer and scientist Wernher von Braun) most popular space hero.
Caltech 2010, elected to the board of trustees of the California Institute of Technology.