Business tycoon Elon Musk, 41, founded his own rocket ship company, Space X, in 2002. Since then, the company has launched two successful unmanned missions to the International Space Station (ISS) with his Falcon rocket and his Dragon spacecraft.
The ISS, a giant orbiting structure in the sky, is a partnership of many countries, including the United States. The station was built in 1998 and its first permanent crew arrived in 2000. Since NASA retired its shuttles last year, only Russia, Japan, and Europe have been transporting cargo to the ISS. The Space X missions marked the first time a company—instead of a government—made a delivery to the space station. Space X will continue to carry cargo to and from the ISS for NASA. Ultimately, the company plans to carry astronauts there as well.
Musk has his sights on more than the stars. He wants to transform life for the better right here on planet Earth. He helped create SolarCity, the leading provider of solar power to homes in the U.S. He also heads Tesla Motors, a company that designs and manufactures electric cars. The company’s ultimate goal is to find a way to produce more affordable electric vehicles.
Musk’s most ambitious idea yet may be for a high-speed mode of transportation called Hyperloop. Passengers board aluminum pods that are shot through steel tubes at about 800 miles per hour. The 380-mile trip within California, from Los Angeles to San Francisco, would take about 35 minutes in the Hyperloop. A startup company is beginning to raise funds for the $6 billion project.
Don’t expect Musk to stop dreaming big anytime soon. “I believe in working super hard and not giving up,” Musk told TIME. “As long as I can see a path to success, I’ll keep going.”
For making it his life’s mission to shape the future and change our world for the better, Elon Musk is a nominee for TFK’s 2013 Person of the Year.
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