Elon Musk is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Designer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and the Chief Executive Officer and Product Architect of Tesla Motors.
At SpaceX, Elon oversees development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately developed liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit. In 2008, SpaceX won a NASA contract to use its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to commercially provide the cargo transport function of the space shuttle, which was retired in 2011. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company to successfully recover a spacecraft from Earth orbit with its Dragon spacecraft. And in 2012, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle to successfully attach to the International Space Station and return cargo to Earth.
At Tesla, Elon has overseen product development and design of the all-electric Tesla Roadster, Model S and Model X since their inception. Transitioning society to a sustainable energy economy, in which electric vehicles play a pivotal role, has been one of his central interests for almost two decades, stemming from his time as a physics student working on ultracapacitors in Silicon Valley.
Elon co-founded Tesla and continues to oversee the company's product strategy -- including the design, engineering and manufacturing of more and more affordable electric vehicles for mainstream consumers. As chairman and product architect, he helped design the ground-breaking Tesla Roadster, for which he won an Index and a Global Green award, the latter presented by Mikhail Gorbachev. In October 2008, he took on the additional responsibility of CEO, overseeing daily operations as the company was ramping up Roadster production and accelerating the development of its second vehicle, the Model S.
Elon launched Tesla's regional sales and service centers across two continents, and in 2009 he secured a $50 million investment and strategic partnership from Germany's Daimler. He guides development of the Model S, the all-electric family sedan that will be produced at the Tesla Factory in Northern California.
In addition, Elon is the non-executive Chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, which he helped create. SolarCity is now the leading provider of solar power systems in the United States.
Prior to his work with SpaceX and Tesla, Elon co-founded PayPal, the world's leading Internet payment system, and he served as the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Before PayPal, he co-founded Zip2, a provider of Internet software to the media industry.
Elon has a Bachelor of Arts in physics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in business from the Wharton School.
Elon is among the nation’s wealthiest individuals who has signed The Giving Pledge, an initiative launched by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Through taking The Giving Pledge, Musk has committed to giving the majority of his wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of his choice either during his lifetime or after his death. To read Mr. Musk’s statement regarding why he signed the Giving Pledge, click here.
Heinlein Prize for Advances in Space Commercialization, 2011
Churchill Club, 2011
Living Legend in Aviation
Kitty Hawk Foundation, 2010
Time Magazine, 2010
FAI Gold Space Medal
Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, 2010
Von Braun Trophy
National Space Society, 2008/2009
George Low Award
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2007/2008
Innovator of the Year
R&D Magazine, 2007
Entrepreneur of the Year
Inc. Magazine, 2007